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Strout v. Central Maine Med. Ctr.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

June 10, 2014

WENDELL STROUT JR.
v.
CENTRAL MAINE MEDICAL CENTER

Argued April 7, 2014

Christopher D. Nyhan, Esq., and Elizabeth A. Campbell, Esq., Preti Flaherty, LLP, Portland, for appellant Central Maine Medical Center.

Scott J. Lynch, Esq., Hornblower, Lynch, Rabasco & Van Dyke, P.A., Lewiston, for appellee Wendell Strout, Jr.

Christopher D. Nyhan, Esq., for appellant Central Maine Medical Center.

Scott J. Lynch, Esq., for appellee Wendell Stout, Jr.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, SILVER, MEAD, GORMAN, and JABAR, JJ.

OPINION

Page 787

SILVER, J.

[¶1] Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) appeals from a judgment on a jury verdict entered in the Superior Court (Androscoggin County, Clifford, J. ) in favor of Wendell Strout Jr., in his medical malpractice action against CMMC. CMMC argues that the court erred bye admitting in evidence one sentence of a letter from CMMC's president to Strout because (1) the entire letter was inadmissible pursuant to 24 M.R.S. § 2907(2) (2013), (2) the statement was part of an offer to compromise, and (3) the statement's probative value was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] The following facts are taken from witness depositions included in the record,[1] and we view them in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict. See Hickson v. Vescom Corp., 2014 ME 27, ¶ 2, 87 A.3d 704. In April 2009, Strout sought treatment for abdominal pain at the CMMC emergency room. A CAT scan revealed a large lesion on Strout's liver. Dr. Ian Reight, a surgeon at CMMC, evaluated the CAT scan and determined that Strout was most likely suffering from a cancer of hepatic, biliary, or pancreatic origin.

[¶3] Several days later, Strout, accompanied by his wife, went to Dr. Reight's office for a follow-up visit. Dr. Reight telephoned the pathologist who was in charge of testing a tissue sample taken from the lesion. The pathologist informed Dr. Reight that he believed the lesion to be of hepatic or pancreatic origin and that he was sending it for additional testing; however, he also informed Dr. Reight that he needed more tissue to complete the assessment.

[¶4] Dr. Reight then told Strout that, although he was still waiting for the final pathology results, he believed that Strout may be suffering from either hepatic or ...


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