Sami v. Varn – Case Brief Summary (Virginia)

In Sami v. Varn, 260 Va. 280, 535 S.E.2d 172 (2000), the Virginia Supreme Court interpreted a statute containing language similar to subsubparagraph (c)(2)(ii)1A.

The Virginia statute in question stated that, in a medical malpractice case, "a witness shall be qualified to testify as an expert on the standard of care if he demonstrates expert knowledge of the standards of the defendant's specialty and of what conduct conforms or fails to conform to those standards and if he has had active clinical practice in either the defendant's specialty or a related field of medicine within one year of the date of the alleged act or omission forming the basis of the action."

The court in Sami, commenting that the statute provided "no guidance for determining whether a clinical practice is 'related,'" held that the purpose of the statute was to prevent the admission of expert witness testimony by one "who has not recently engaged in the actual performance of the procedures at issue in a case." 260 Va. at 285.

The court concluded that "in applying the 'related field of medicine' test for the purposes of the statute at issue, it is sufficient if in the expert witness' clinical practice the expert performs the procedure at issue and the standard of care for performing the procedure is the same." Id.