Criminal Matter & Exclusion of Expert Witness Testimony in Medical Malpractice Suit
US v. Maldonado, 09-1626, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a sentence of 120-months imprisonment in a prosecution of defendant for crimes related to his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. In vacating the sentence, the court held that an attaching plates offense under Massachusetts law does not count toward defendant's criminal history under the guidelines. The court also held that whether defendant qualifies for the safety valve and, if so, whether a different sentence should be imposed are matters for the district court on remand.
Cruz-Vazquez v. Mennonite Gen. Hosp., Inc., 09-1758, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment in favor of the defendants in plaintiff''s suit filed pursuant to the Puerto Rico's medical malpractice law and the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). In vacating the judgment, the court held that the district court abused its discretion in excluding plaintiff's expert witness, as considerations such as an expert witness's pecuniary interest in the outcome of a case, or his status as an expert witness only for one side of an issue, or the extent to which a doctor currently sees patients, go to the probative weight of testimony, not its admissibility.