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Judge’s Mistake Leads to Mistrial


The justice system is not perfect. Mistakes are common. If a lawyer is the cause of a mistake, compensation is possible through a lawsuit. What about a judge’s mistakes?

An appeals court could fix judicial errors, but it won’t provide compensation. Last month a British Columbia Court of Appeals decision in a medical malpractice case exposed the need for a compensation plan for judicial errors.

A newborn baby boy suffered severe brain damage at his birth, and his mother sued B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Care Centre and several of its employees.

The trial took 30 days of hearings and resulted in a $5 million award in 2009. The presiding judge concluded that three doctors and a nurse fell far below the required standard of care, causing or at least contributing significantly to the child’s brain damage.

The hospital appealed the ruling on numerous grounds, including plagiarism. Apparently, 105-page decision contained 321 (of the 368) paragraphs that were almost complete verbatim copies of the argument filed by the mother’s lawyer. Only 40 paragraphs were written in the judge’s own words. Even worse, the judge never attributed any of his reasons to the lawyer’s written argument. Lawyers in Manhattan and Long Island deal with this kind of case all the time.

As a result, two of three appeal court judges said the initial judgment ruling was not appropriate enough to satisfy the public that justice had indeed been meted.

Thus, the trial judgment was set aside and the family’s $5 million was gone.

A new trial was ordered, if the already worn mother could handle or afford another trial.

So the question is: who should be responsible for court costs in cases such as this? Why should either side have to pay the rising legal fees? A New York Birth Injury Lawyer says that the fees are likely upwards of $1 million dollars already, and a second trial could easily double them.

Any answer will probably not be an easy solution. There are several options available, but it may take time for anyone to agree to it long enough to establish it. A New York Birth Injury Attorney says that judges are currently immune from legal suit while performing their duties as judge. That system doesn’t necessarily need an overhaul, but possibly a complimentary fund could be instituted for cases like this.

Seek the counsel of a legitimate New York Birth Injury Attorney if you need expert legal advice on a matter similar to this.

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