Summary Judgment Affirmed

The Appellate Division First Department unanimously affirmed the lower court’s decision granting HPMB summary judgment dismissal on behalf of a General Surgeon and a major metropolitan hospital in a medical malpractice case involving a robotic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), allegedly resulting in injury to the patient’s common bile duct.


In New York County, HPMB Partners Hayley Newman and Patrick Murphy successfully argued that  injury to the patient’s common bile duct was a known risk of the surgery to remove her gallbladder, and the mere occurrence of the injury does not indicate the surgery was improperly performed.  Further, Ms. Newman and Mr. Murphy successfully argued that the injury to the common bile duct was timely diagnosed and treated via an emergency exploratory surgery with placement of a stent, followed by surgical repair several months later.  HPMB’s motion was granted in its entirety, resulting in dismissal of all claims.


Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal as to the general surgeon, and HPMB Partner Daniel Ratner successfully opposed the appeal.  In opposition, Mr. Ratner argued that plaintiffs’ expert’s conclusion that surgical clips were negligently placed on the common bile duct was without evidentiary support in the record.  Mr. Ratner further argued that plaintiffs’ expert failed to address or rebut the opinions of defendants’ hepatobiliary expert. 


The Appellate Division agreed that the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to summary judgment and that plaintiffs failed to establish the existence of a triable issue of fact.   Accordingly, the dismissal was sustained.