Filippelli v. Saint Mary's Hospital
Pursuant to Connecticut Code of Evidence §8-3(8), if no expert witness has identified an article as a standard authority, or relied on it in formulating his or her opinion, the article is not admissible evidence. Philip Filippelli, III brought this action against Dennis Rodin, an orthopedic surgeon, and Waterbury Orthopaedic Associates, P.C., alleging that Rodin was careless and negligent in his treatment of Filippelli. Following trial, the court rendered judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict for the defendants. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the court abused its discretion in evidentiary rulings concerning a medical journal article and the deposition testimony of the defendants' expert, Andrew Bazos. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The plaintiff claimed that the trial court misapplied the learned treatise doctrine by precluding him from using a medical journal article to impeach Rodin and Bazos and to confirm the testimony of the plaintiff's expert, Ronald Krasnick. The Appellate Court distinguished between a periodical and an article published in that periodical. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in precluding the plaintiff from using the article to confirm Krasnick's opinion. The article's disclosure was untimely and Krasnick testified that he did not rely on any medical literature he considered authoritative to form his opinion. The plaintiff may not use an article to confirm his expert's testimony if the expert did not rely on it. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in vacating its order to admit the article as evidence to impeach Rodin. Rodin was not disclosed as an expert witness and no expert identified the article as standard authority or relied on it in forming his opinion. Even if improper, the ruling was not harmful. Further, because the plaintiff failed to meet the foundational elements of Code of Evidence §8-3, the court did not abuse its discretion by limiting the use of the article in Bazos' cross-examination. Additionally, the court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to permit the plaintiff to impeach Bazos regarding his testifying for Rodin in other malpractice actions. Such evidence was more prejudicial than probative. However, the court improperly refused to let plaintiff's counsel make an offer of proof and to mark a document for identification. The errors were found harmless.