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$1.4M Jury Award Reversed Over Lack of Evidence


Posted on Feb 11, 2012

A New York appeals court has reversed a lower court's jury verdict for wrongful death and its subsequent $1.4 million settlement because the appellate court found insufficient evidence of malpractice.

George Dentes died of a heart attack on October 31, 2006 at the age of 52. He was working with the New York State Prosecutor's Training Institute in Albany at the time and was known for a 16-year run as DA of Tompkins County until 2005. He is succeeded by his wife and three children.

His wife, Elsie Dentes, sued her late husband's cardiologist, Jonathan Mauser, in June of 2010, for not noting that his patient had heart disease. Her case was that he could have offered a cardiac catheterization, and the absence of this test was evidence of negligence.

However, according to the appellate court, there was not enough evidence that a cardiac catheterization was necessary and the heart disease could not have been foreseen. They noted that the plaintiffs used only one expert witness, who could not distinguish between two types of heart disease, which was important because cardiac catheterizations would not help identify the type of heart disease Mr. Dentes had died of. Besides, because Dentes's condition was "not exceptional" at the time he was examined, "the appropriate treatment is lifestyle changes and monitoring, just as [Mauser] recommended."

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