Defendants in medical malpractice cases will frequently defend themselves by pointing the finger of blame at another doctor who was involved in the plaintiff’s treatment. Sort of. They talk about but rarely do they put on the case with expert testimony. They just make a lot of rumblings about it in discovery.
Usually, the doctor who gets blamed is not a defendant in the malpractice case. I call this defense strategy “blaming the empty chair.” This defense strategy can be very effective in certain situations. Juries often feel sympathetic for injured plaintiffs, but may be reluctant to condemn the defendant doctors. The empty chair defense offers jurors a tempting “scapegoat” in this context. It is always so much easier to blame the guy who is not in the room. We do it all the time in our personal lives. (Clint Eastwood is a huge fan.)