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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Joseph Roman Ybarra, Appellant, v. Lawrence C. Spangard et al., Respondents.

Headnote

Are there situations where courts should apply res ipsa loquitur despite a plaintiff’s failure to satisfy the technical requirements of the doctrine? Plaintiff was placed under anesthesia for appendectomy. After waking the following morning, plaintiff felt a sharp pain near his right shoulder—an area unrelated to his surgery. Despite treatments for the pain, plaintiff developed paralysis and muscle atrophy. Expert testimony corroborated the plaintiff’s claim that the paralysis was due to trauma suffered during the surgery. Due to a lack of evidence, plaintiff’s suit applied res ipsa loquitur against a number of parties.