AMLA - Similarly Situated Healthcare Provider - JML


Youngblood v. Martin, [Ms. 1171037, Jan. 10, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Stewart, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin and Wise, JJ., concur; Sellers, J., concurs in the result) reverses a judgment on a jury verdict entered in favor of the plaintiff in a wrongful death action arising under the Alabama Medical Liability Act (AMLA). To qualify as a similarly situated healthcare provider under the AMLA, an expert must be “licensed by the appropriate regulatory board or agency of this or some other state.” § 6-5-548(c)(1), Ala. Code 1975. At trial, the plaintiff’s expert did not testify that he was licensed in Alabama or any other state.

While the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Doblar, was testifying, the defendant objected and argued that plaintiff had not laid the proper predicate required by § 6-5-548. Ms. *9. The Court held that this objection was sufficiently specific to preserve for appellate review the expert’s lack of qualification under § 6-5-548(c)(1). The Court explained that the defense “was not required ‘to direct his opponent’s mind to the correct law the way one would thrust a beagle’s nose on a rabbit trail.’” Ms. *9, quoting Ex parte Works, 640 So. 2d 1056, 1058 (Ala. 1994)(some internal quotations marks omitted).

The Court reversed the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff and directed that judgment as a matter of law be entered in favor of defendant “based on the plain language of the statute, Dr. Doblar was not qualified to testify concerning the standard of care ....” Ms. *11.

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