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Rosa-Rivera v. Dorado Health, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

May 29, 2015

LIZA D. ROSA-RIVERA; EDGARD FRANQUI-RAMOS; F.A.F.R., minor child represented by his parents, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
v.
DORADO HEALTH, INC., d/b/a Alejandro Otero López Hospital, Inc., Defendant, Appellee, JOSEPH CAPRE-FEBUS; CARLOS E. GONZÁ LEZ-CAMACHO; JOHN DOE; JANE DOE-CAPRE; COMPANIES A, B AND C; MARY DOE-GONZÁ LEZ; CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP GONZÁ LEZ-DOE; CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP CAPRE-DOE, Defendants

Page 615

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Camille L. Vélez-Rivé, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

Michelle A. Ramos-Jiménez, with whom Luis Rafael Rivera Law Office was on brief, for appellants.

Kenneth Colón for appellee.

Before Torruella, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 616

THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.

Alleging that negligent conduct occurred during the birth of their son, F.A.F.R., his parents filed a medical malpractice suit. They prevailed against the defendant physician but the jury found no liability on the co-defendant hospital's part. The plaintiffs sought a new trial, the motion was denied, and they appealed. Concluding this denial was appropriate, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Liza Rosa-Rivera and Edgard Franqui-Ramos, on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor son, F.A.F.R., (" Plaintiffs" ) filed a diversity-based lawsuit against appellee, Dorado Health, Inc., d/b/a Alejandro Otero López Hospital, Inc. (" Dorado Health" or " the hospital" ), along with Dr. Joseph Capre-Febus.[1] Plaintiffs alleged that Dr. Capre-Febus (the physician who delivered F.A.F.R.) and Dorado Health (the hospital where the delivery took place) acted negligently in connection with the birth of their son, resulting in F.A.F.R. suffering from trauma, shoulder dystocia, and ultimately Erb's Palsy. The jury was partially convinced. It concluded that while both Dr. Capre-Febus and Dorado Health were negligent, only Dr. Capre-Febus's negligence proximately caused F.A.F.R.'s impairments. The judgment ordered the doctor to compensate the Plaintiffs $807,500. Plaintiffs moved for a new trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a), advancing the same arguments they do here.[2] The district court, finding merit to none, denied the motion and this appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

Plaintiffs make three claims of error, the first being that the trial judge erred in not allowing their attorney to ask a Dorado Health nurse leading questions. The second claimed misstep was the judge's decision not to include one of their proposed jury instructions. And finally, Plaintiffs insist that the jury rendered an inconsistent verdict. We take the issues in that order.

A. LEADING THE WITNESS

Sara Montalvo, who at the time of trial had been working at ...


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