Georgia tightens up the “same specialty” requirement for expert witnesses

October 8, 2013

Hankla v. Postell, — S.E.2d —, 2013 WL 5508611 (Ga. 2013)

The Georgia Supreme Court decided yesterday that a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who had handled over a thousand deliveries in her career and had experience performing obstetrical maneuvers to address shoulder dystocia is not eligible to testify as a defense expert witness that a certified nurse midwife had not breached the standard of care in her delivery of the plaintiff’s son. The Court reasoned that this expert had failed to satisfy the “same profession” requirement of OCGA § 24–7–702(c)(2)(C) or the “supervision” requirement of subparagraph (c)(2)(D).  The Court also mentioned in its decision that tort reform objectives require it “to construe the “same profession” requirement to apply to all proffered medical experts, even those experienced in the procedure at issue through active practice.”