When a plaintiff harmed by medical negligence pursues claims for damages via a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff’s compliance with the laws of procedure is arguably almost as important as the merits of the plaintiff’s case. In other words, if a plaintiff fails to abide by the rules imposed by the law or the courts, it can result in a dismissal of otherwise valid claims. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed what a plaintiff seeking to vacate an order dismissing a hospital malpractice case due to the failure comply with procedural rules must demonstrate in order to obtain a favorable result. If you or a loved one sustained damages due to incompetent care in a hospital, it is advisable to consult a capable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert a claim for damages.
Facts and Procedure of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent died from sepsis after she was released from the defendant hospital. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and the defendant treating physician who cared for the decedent while she was admitted to the defendant hospital. After discovery was complete, the defendants each moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment. The court then issued an order setting forth when the plaintiff was required to serve her opposition to the motions upon the defendants, when the defendants were required to file any replies, and when oral argument would be held.
Reportedly, however, the parties stipulated that the plaintiff’s opposition could be filed at a later date. As such, the plaintiff did not file her opposition by the court-imposed deadline. The plaintiff did not seek an adjournment in person until the day the defendants’ replies were due, but the court denied her request and granted the defendants’ motions as unopposed. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the order granting the defendants’ motions. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.