On July 13, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court in Dubois v. Brantley addressed the type of experience that is required for a doctor to be offered as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case. The case reached the Supreme Court when the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s proposed expert was not qualified to testify because the expert had performed no more than one of the exact type of procedure at issue within the last five years.
The Georgia Supreme Court rejected the defendant’s argument, noting that Rule 702 does “not require that an expert actually have performed or taught the very procedure at issue.” Rather, the question under Rule 702 is “whether an expert has ‘an appropriate level of knowledge…in performing the procedure…[or] teaching others how to perform the procedure.’” Thus, the Dubois court held, “an expert has an ‘appropriate level of knowledge . . . in performing a procedure’ to the extent that the expert has sufficient knowledge about the performance of the procedure — however generally or specifically it is characterized, so long as it is the procedure that the defendant is alleged to have performed negligently—to reliably give the opinions about the performance of the procedure that the expert proposes to give.”
Because the plaintiff’s expert testified that he had “intimate” knowledge regarding the procedure at issue, he was qualified to testify as an expert in this case.