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Monfore v. Phillips, 778 F.3d 849 (10th Cir. Feb. 10, 2015) 

Feb 10, 2015

This medical malpractice appeal serves as a cautionary tale to co-defendants who plan a joint defense. A widow pursued negligence claims against the doctors and hospital that allegedly failed to diagnose her husband’s throat cancer. The defendants maintained a unified front all the way up to pre-trial, denying negligence by anyone. Then, on the eve of trial, some of the defendants settled, leaving one doctor to stand trial by himself. The Tenth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow the doctor to amend his pre-trial order to revamp his trial strategy with new witnesses and exhibits to pin the blame on the absent settling defendants.