Gary Samms Quoted in The Legal Intelligencer

July 27, 2021

Gary Samms, chair of Obermayer’s Professional Liability Practice Group and the Catastrophic Loss Group, was interviewed by The Legal Intelligencer in connection with the unanimous defense verdict that he obtained on behalf of a surgeon and Einstein Medical Center after a five-day jury trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

“Even with the best conditions and treatment, circumstances—especially those involving medical care and the human body—can sometimes take a turn for the worst.”

That was the message Gary was trying to get across to a Pennsylvania jury as he defended the hospital system against claims that one of its patients received improper post-operative care following a risky procedure to address the patient’s pancreatic cancer.

“If we’ve learned anything from COVID, it’s that we medically can’t control everything,” Samms said. “I thought that was a nice way to set up the complications. Every juror has lived that and knows that.”

According to Gary, the trial largely came down to the experts, with the defense experts being more credentialed and having spent more time on the specific types of surgeries and patients at issue in the case.

Gary and his team used video animations about the procedure to keep the jury focused and attentive to the defense’s highly detailed arguments about medical procedures and outcomes. Another aspect of the trial that helped him keep the jury’s attention was the layout of the court.

In an effort to allow for social distancing during the pandemic, the courtrooms in Philadelphia had been retrofitted where experts testify from the jury box and jurors watch from the gallery. According to Gary, that unique layout was helpful.

“Having the jury in the gallery, and having your back to the judge while you are addressing the jury, it actually helped them remain very focused the entire trial,” Gary said. “It might even be an advantage to have them in the gallery looking at the witnesses, and getting a clear view of them.”

Gary Samms has comprehensive experience in complex civil litigation matters. His law practice concentrates in the areas of commercial, medical malpractice, professional liability, health care, sexual assault claims, intellectual property litigation, and cases of high monetary exposure. Gary has tried well over 185 major jury trials and has had success in Federal and State court as well as arguing successfully before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Gary is a recognized speaker and lecturer, most frequently speaking on trial tactics, experts, and cross-examination. He has also been published in various health care publications on topics varying from Informed Consent to Selecting an Expert. He has also been featured on Fox Business News’ “Xpert Forum.”


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