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Litigation News | 2022

Flattening the Learning Curve for Healthcare Litigation

Aubrey Eyrolles


  • An accessible yet thorough introduction to the intricacies of tort-based cases.
  • Tort-based healthcare litigation is a niche practice area.
  • This books provides a great introductory snapshot of various types of tort-based healthcare cases and specialized considerations that litigators will encounter while preparing for trials in this area.
Flattening the Learning Curve for Healthcare Litigation
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Tort-based healthcare litigation is a niche practice area, and the learning curve can be very high for new litigators, or even more seasoned practitioners who might be new to the subject matter. An Introduction to Tort-Based Healthcare Litigation, written by several members of the ABA Litigation Section Health Law Committee and edited by Caldwell G. Collins and Robert A. Chu, gives a great introductory snapshot of various types of tort-based healthcare cases and specialized considerations that litigators will encounter while preparing for trials in this area.

According to Kimberly Grant Silvus, the author of the chapter on experts, difficulties can arise when “[a] lawyer is suddenly supposed to draw on a liberal arts degree in literature or history and look at an injured person, identify the specialty of medicine responsible for the injury, spar in some intelligible meaningful manner with experts on the other side in a deposition, confidently present her experts at trial, spar again with the experts for the other side—this time with an audience—and then distill the immensely complicated medicine in a persuasive comprehensible narrative for a jury.” Books and treatises with a thorough overview on the practice area are thus extremely valuable for new practitioners, particularly those with no scientific or technical backgrounds.

An Introduction to Tort-Based Healthcare Litigation is an excellent resource in that regard. Within the book’s relatively short 134 pages, the authors cover considerations for litigation in several categories. Each of these chapters includes an overview of that specific area of litigation, the causes of action, possible defenses, and damages.

The book begins with a generalized discussion on medical malpractice litigation. It then delves into three specific subsets of tort-based healthcare litigation: long-term care, pharmaceutical product liability, and medical devices. The chapter on long-term care litigation explains the highly fact-specific nature of long-term care litigation and the specialized knowledge needed for the types of injuries that long-term care residents experience. The chapter on pharmaceutical product liability litigation outlines the Federal Drug Administration’s drug approval process. Finally, the chapter on medical device litigation examines the “heavy overlay” of federal regulations that create unique theories and defenses that are not present in general products liability law.

Detailing the importance of some of the more technical details related to tort-based healthcare litigation are the chapters on statutes of limitation, certificates of medical merit, venue, and privilege. The chapter on medical experts advises on how to find the best experts and attack the credibility of opponents’ experts. Other chapters address procedural and jurisdictional issues like removal, personal jurisdiction, and federal multidistrict litigation.

While no book could cover the entire universe of tort-based healthcare litigation, this book is an excellent resource for any attorney new to tort-based litigation in the healthcare field. The authors’ discussion of each topic includes references to a multitude of statutes and case law from various jurisdictions, which makes the book a great starting point for finding additional statutes and precedent for each category of tort-based healthcare claims.

The book is written in a way that makes it easy to understand these complex topics. It feels accessible and understandable even for the least healthcare-oriented attorneys. Another great feature of the book is that it is written from a position-neutral stance, which gives practitioners the ability to consider the issues regardless of which side of the “v” they are on. It provides the reader with practical knowledge and an understanding of how all the pieces of a case need to come together.

Overall, An Introduction to Tort-Based Healthcare Litigation is a worthwhile read for any lawyer who needs to learn the basics in this field. It is also a great resource for law students who are considering tort-based healthcare litigation as a career path but are curious as to whether they will enjoy the practice area. The book describes the type of work that practitioners in this area do on a day-to-day basis, and it is incredibly rare to find resources that give an understanding of the full scope of a given practice area.

Purchase Today

The book is available for purchase today. Search this and other Litigation Section books at or by calling 1-800-285-2221.