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Law School Case Brief

Mohr v. Williams - 98 Minn. 494, 108 N.W. 818 (1906)

Rule:

In all cases of expert testimony, the evidence is only entitled to such weight as the jury might give it, provided they find the essential facts upon which it was based to be true.

Facts:

A patient filed suit against a physician for assault and to recover $20,000 due to an unauthorized surgical operation upon plaintiff's left ear. The trial court awarded her damages in the amount of $3,500 but on appeal, the case was remanded. The physician sought a judgment and the trial court granted the judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the ground that the evidence conclusively proved that an emergency existed justifying immediate treatment despite the lack of consent. The patient appealed.

Issue:

Was the physician entitled to a new trial?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the matter to the trial court with leave to the physician to move for a new trial. The Court held that the evidence did not conclusively establish the fact that the patient's ear was in such a serious condition as to call for an immediate operation, given that the physician had found an obstruction in the patient's left ear which, in itself, was unnatural, and yet he did nothing to ascertain the real condition for nearly three weeks thereafter. Thus, the judgment notwithstanding the verdict was erroneous, and the matter was remanded with leave for the physician to seek a new trial. 

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