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3.8-1  Professional Malpractice - General

Revised to January 1, 2008

Here, the plaintiff claims that the defendant was negligent in that:  <list allegations of negligence>.

The plaintiff further alleges that as a direct and proximate result of the acts and/or omissions of the defendant, the plaintiff was damaged.

The plaintiff need not prove that the defendant failed to use the required care, skill and diligence in all the ways alleged.  It is enough if the plaintiff proves one or more of the allegations of negligence, provided the plaintiff also proves that such negligence was a legal cause of harm to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff's claims in this case are claims of professional malpractice, since the allegations of the complaint revolve around the conduct of defendant in the practice of (his/her) profession.  Malpractice is commonly defined as the failure of one rendering professional services to exercise that degree of skill and learning commonly applied under all the circumstances in the community by a reasonably prudent member of the profession with the result of injury, loss or damage to the recipient of those services.

In a malpractice case against a professional <name of profession>, it is incumbent upon the plaintiff to produce evidence as to what a skilled <name of profession> of ordinary prudence engaged in the same line of business would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances.   This must be established through expert testimony.1  When the question involved goes beyond the field of the ordinary knowledge and experience of judges or jurors, expert testimony is required.

Based on the evidence that has been presented, you must determine whether the defendant failed to exercise that degree of skill and learning commonly applied by a reasonably prudent <name of profession> under the circumstances here as you find them to be.  If you find that the defendant failed to exercise such skill, you must then determine whether that lack of skill was a legal cause of the plaintiff's claimed injuries, and such legal cause must also be shown by expert testimony.

In every professional malpractice action, the plaintiff is required to prove that 1) the defendant was obligated to conform to the applicable standard of care, 2) the defendant departed from that standard, 3) the plaintiff suffered some injury, and 4) the defendant's departure from the standard of care caused the plaintiff harm.
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1 Expert testimony is not required where there is such an obvious and gross lack of care and skill that it is clear even to a layperson.  Davis v. Margolis, 215 Conn. 408, 416 n.6 (1990).  Some Superior Court opinions have held that whether the exception applies is a question of law.  Thompson v. Putnam Kitchens, Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford, Docket No. CV 02 0188635 (December 7, 2004); Faulise v. Eisenstein, Superior Court, judicial district of New Britain, Docket No. CV 98 0490341 (October 30, 2000); Digioia v. Greenberg, Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Docket No. CV 0350406 (October 11, 1995).

Authority

Davis v. Margolis, 215 Conn. 408, 415-16 (1990); Sherman v. Bristol Hospital, Inc., 79 Conn. App. 78, 88 n.6 (2003); Ahern v. Fuss and O'Neill, Inc., 78 Conn. App. 202, 208-209 (2003); Gordon v. Glass, 66 Conn. App. 852, 855-56 (2001), cert. denied, 259 Conn. 909 (2002); Matyas v. Minck, 37 Conn. App. 321, 326-27 (1995).
 


 

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