Unfortunately, the Judge would not allow any “non-pattern” jury instructions to be read to the jury at the end of our complex medical malpractice case. The Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions (“MPJI”) were sparse and failed to explain the elements of a medical malpractice case. This was frustrating to defense counsel, and likely to jurors as well.
We are pleased to report that much of the confusion has now been alleviated! Last week, the 5th Ed. of the MPJI was published and provided to all judges in Maryland. This new version of the MPJI does several helpful things:
- DEFINES — It better defines the elements of a medical malpractice claim that must be proven by the plaintiff (standard of care, breach and causation);
- EXPLAINS — It describes the doctrine of informed consent in a more coherent, logical format that makes sense to a jury; and
- CLARIFIES — Medical records and bills can be considered by the jury but do not have to be accepted by them.
Together, these changes allow the Court to follow MPJI and better explain medical malpractice claims to a jury. We appreciate all the effort put into this project by Maryland State Bar Association and the Pattern Jury Instruction Committee!
If you have any questions regarding the revised MPJI medical malpractice instructions or jury analysis in Maryland, please contact us.