Bair, et al. v. Callahan, No. 11-1593 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs sued defendant for negligence and loss of consortium when defendant performed an unsuccessful spinal fusion surgery on one plaintiff. The jury found in favor of defendant and plaintiffs subsequently appealed the court's denial of their motion for a new trial. The court held that the district court did not clearly and prejudicially abuse its considerable discretion in prohibiting the admission of the evidence concerning defendant's other patients under Rule 404(b). The court also held that the district court's exclusion of the evidence was also proper under Rule 403 because any relevance was substantially outweighed by the evidence's greater potential to prejudice defendant unfairly, confuse the jury, and cause undue delay. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion where it properly deferred to the jury's weighing of conflicting expert testimony about whether defendant properly placed the pedicle screws. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.