Heather Hansen recently obtained a directed verdict in favor of an orthopedic surgeon in the Superior Court of New Jersey-Atlantic County. 

The plaintiff had sustained a work-related knee injury and had an arthroscopy prior to seeing the defendant orthopedic surgeon.  After failing conservative therapy, the defendant orthopedic surgeon performed a  total knee replacement.  In the months thereafter,  plaintiff’s pain and function progressively improved and radiographs  showed a  well-positioned total knee replacement.  However, plaintiff sought the opinion of  another orthopedic surgeon for complaints of pain.  Plaintiff alleged that surgeon commented that while plaintiff had excellent alignment and range of motion of the knee, he thought there may be an elevated joint line or a patella baja (an abnormally low lying patella).  He later performed an arthroscopic debridement with resection of scar tissue.   

Plaintiffs alleged that the defendant orthopedic surgeon negligently performed the total knee replacement by elevating the joint line which caused a patella baja.  It was the defendant’s position that the surgery was appropriately performed and that there was no elevation of the joint line. 

After the plaintiffs presented their case at trial, Ms. Hansen moved for a directed verdict, and successfully argued that plaintiffs’ liability expert provided only net opinions and did not provide the requisite testimony needed to establish that the defendant’s care and treatment of the plaintiff deviated from the standard of care.  The Court agreed with Ms. Hansen’s arguments and granted the motion for a directed verdict.