The circuit court abused its discretion in imposed sanctions on counsel in a medical-malpractice case, ordering him to pay $5,000 in the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs related to the identification of a trial expert the court found unqualified.
The question whether an active clinical practice is in a related field of medicine is a question of fact. But here, the circuit court heard no evidence regarding the specific medical procedure at issue, the nature of the proffered expert’s gynecological practice, or whether he had performed the relevant procedure at some point. The only evidence the circuit court had regarding the proffered expert’s practice was that he retired from practicing obstetrics in January 2012. To the extent that the circuit court ruled that gynecology and obstetrics are not related fields of medicine “as a matter of law,” its decision to impose sanctions was guided by erroneous legal conclusions and, therefore, was an abuse of discretion.
Sanctions award reversed.