ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) – A wrongful death lawsuit
filed against a plastic surgeon failed to get a new trial following a ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court affirming the exclusion of evidence that would have supposedly been helpful to
According to the
Georgia Supreme Court, the appellate court erred in its decision to admit the
deposition testimony given by an organizational representative in the wrongful
death lawsuit between Dr. Patricia Yugueros and Rudy Robles. The Supreme Court said the appellate court failed to properly
adhere to the rules of evidence governing the admissibility of an expert
The issue stemmed from the
death of Robles’ wife, Iselda Moreno, in 2009. She received liposuction,
buttock augmentation and abdominoplasty surgery on June 24, 2009. The operations
were performed by Yugueros of Artisan Plastic Surgery LLC.
surgery, Moreno experienced abdominal pain and was rushed to the emergency room
at Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC). She was discharged by her doctor, Dr. Michael
Violette, when her X-ray results showed no alarming signs of health problems.
However, the center’s
radiologist, Dr. James York, refused to rule out the possibility of “free air” in
her abdomen. According to him, this could either be a typical issue after an
operation or a serious health problem. He provided these comments in the records
When Moreno’s pain
escalated, Robles reached out to Yugueros. The couple were instructed to go to another
hospital where the surgeon was affiliated. New tests were conducted on Moreno with
Yugueros not contacting any of the doctors from GMC. She also did not ask for
the results of Moreno’s prior examination in the center. The patient died on
June 28, 2009.
sued Yugueros and Artisan for the death of his wife. The lawsuit also tagged Violette,
York and GMC as potentially liable non-parties to the suit.
During the proceedings
in the trial court, Artisan sent Dr. Diane Alexander as the representative of
the practice. She was identified as the founder and co-owner of the company. However,
her expert testimony later on proved to be detrimental to Artisan as she
revealed that Yugueros appeared to have breached the protocol in Morales’
According to the defense,
Alexander could not be considered an expert in the case as her testimony failed
to comply with the conditions needed to be declared as such. For one, the trial court found the founder
of the company was not furnished with all the information necessary for her to
make an expert opinion on the matter.
Prior to the decision
from the appellate court, the verdict released by the trial court sided with
the defense. However, the plaintiff claimed that the victory was only due to the
excluded evidence considered by the trial court – proof that could have swept
the tides in his favor instead.
Upon the submission of the case to the appellate court, the evidence set aside by the trial court was included in the case and
the petitioner emerged victorious. However, the Supreme Court of Georgia
disagreed with the appellate court’s ruling.