Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Usually, medical malpractice cases arise out of harm caused by careless behavior. In some instances, however, a patient will suffer damages due to a physician’s acts that are not only intentional but also constitute criminal behavior. In such matters, the injured party may be able to establish negligence as a matter of law without the use of an expert. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion in which it discussed the plaintiff’s burden of proof in a case that involved a defendant convicted of a crime for the same acts that the plaintiff alleged constituted malpractice. If you sustained losses due to the harmful acts of a doctor, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your potential claims.

Background of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant, who was a psychiatrist, treated the plaintiff for unspecified mental health issues. During the course of the treatment, the defendant engaged in sexual activity with the plaintiff. As a result, he was arrested and charged with rape and other crimes. A jury ultimately convicted him, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his actions constituted a departure from the standard of care, which caused the plaintiff to suffer harm. The plaintiff then moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Collateral Estoppel in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, collateral estoppel prohibits a party from relitigating an issue in a case that was resolved against the party in a prior proceeding where the party had a fair and full opportunity to contest the determination. The court explained that where a criminal conviction is based on facts identical to those at issue in a related civil matter, the plaintiff in the civil case can assert the doctrine of collateral estoppel to bar the convicted defendant from re-arguing the issue of his or her liability. Continue reading

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In medical malpractice cases, it is not uncommon for more than one health care provider to be named as a defendant. In such instances, the plaintiff must independently prove the liability of each defendant, and merely because there is sufficient evidence to hold one provider accountable does not mean that all will be deemed liable. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice matter in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against one defendant but allowed the claims against another defendant to proceed. If you were injured by incompetent medical care, it is in your best interest to meet with a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyer regarding your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was cared for by the defendant internal medicine physician and the defendant pulmonologist. She ultimately died of lung cancer that had metastasized. The plaintiff then filed a complaint asserting medical malpractice claims against the defendants, arguing that their failure to diagnose and treat the decedent’s cancer led to her demise. The defendants each filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion as to the defendant internal medicine doctor but denied it as to the defendant pulmonologist. The plaintiff and defendant pulmonologist appealed.

Standard of Review for Summary Judgment Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court explained the standard for review for summary judgment motions in medical malpractice cases. In order to demonstrate a prima facie case of liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff has to prove that the defendant departed from the accepted practice of medicine and set forth evidence showing that the departure was the proximate cause of the harm alleged. Continue reading

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Procedural errors and the failure to comply with court-ordered and statutory deadlines can have a detrimental impact on a plaintiff’s case, and in some instances, may result in the dismissal of a case altogether. This was illustrated in a recent medical malpractice case filed in New York, in which the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ case after they failed to file a response in opposition to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in a timely manner. If you were injured by a reckless health care provider, you may be owed compensation, and you should speak to a zealous Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that while the plaintiff husband was at the defendant medical center for cardiac-related physical therapy, he fell off of a stationary bike and suffered severe injuries. Thus, the plaintiff husband and his wife filed a lawsuit against the medical center alleging claims of medical malpractice. The plaintiffs also filed a product liability case against the manufacturer of the bike, and the two cases were ultimately consolidated. The defendant medical center moved for summary judgment after the completion of discovery.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed four requests for adjournments of the deadline to submit an opposition to the defendant’s motion, which the court granted. The plaintiffs eventually filed their brief in opposition after the final deadline had passed. The defendant medical center asked the court to grant its motion as unopposed due to the late submission, while the plaintiffs sought another adjournment. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

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In New York, people that render medical care to other individuals are generally held to a higher standard of care than an ordinary person and may be deemed liable for medical malpractice if they deviate from the standard. In some instances, though, a plaintiff harmed by negligent medical care must prove the existence of special duty in order to recover damages, such as in cases in which the alleged harm was caused by a municipality providing emergency medical services. This was discussed in a recent medical malpractice case filed in New York, in which the defendant asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. If you suffered an injury or illness because of incompetent medical care, it is advisable to speak to a zealous Rochester medical malpractice attorney to determine whether you may be able to recover compensation.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that someone called 911 after the plaintiff’s decedent suffered a grave injury. The defendants, a municipality, an emergency medical service operated by the municipality, and a fire department operated by the municipality, were delayed in responding to the call. Further, when they arrived at the scene of the accident, they rendered improper treatment to the plaintiff’s decedent, who ultimately died from his injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging claims of medical malpractice, wrongful death, and negligence. The defendants moved to have the claims dismissed, but the trial court denied their motion, after which they appealed. On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Against a Municipality

On review, the appellate court explained that when a defendant moves to have a complaint dismissed for the failure to state a cause of action, the complaint should be granted a liberal construction. In other words, the facts alleged are presumed to be true, the plaintiff should be afforded every inference that is favorable, and the court’s role is limited to assessing whether the alleged facts fall under any valid legal theory. In other words, the court should not weigh whether the plaintiff’s claims will ultimately be successful. Continue reading

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Although most people who pursue medical malpractice claims in New York will ask a jury of their peers to determine liability and assess damages, juries do not always issue verdicts that are in accordance with the evidence of record. For example, in some cases, a jury will find in favor of a defendant despite clear evidence of negligence. Additionally, a jury may issue a verdict that is arguably incomprehensible, by finding that a defendant committed malpractice but that the plaintiff is not owed any compensation. A plaintiff’s recourse in such instances was discussed in a recent New York medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s husband died due to negligent care. If you lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s incompetence, it is prudent to talk to a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice attorney to analyze what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctor that treated the plaintiff’s decedent and the hospital where he received treatment, alleging that their negligence caused the decedent’s harm and ultimate demise. The case eventually proceeded to trial. After deliberating, the jury found that the defendants were negligent and awarded the plaintiff $25,000 for the decedent’s suffering and pain but did not award any pecuniary damages. The plaintiff filed an order asking the court to set aside the jury’s verdict in part and to order a new trial solely on the issue of damages. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Damages Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the jury’s decision not to award pecuniary damages to the plaintiff and her adult children was against the weight of the evidence. The court found that the plaintiff’s argument lacked merit, however. Specifically, contrary to the established standard under New York law for granting a new trial, the evidence of record on the issue of the financial damages the plaintiff suffered due to the decedent’s death was not so strongly in favor of the plaintiff that the verdict could not have been reached based on a fair interpretation of the evidence.

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It is well-established that in medical malpractice cases in New York, a defendant may obtain a ruling in its favor prior to trial if it establishes a prima facie showing that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Even if a defendant meets its burden of proof, however, a plaintiff may be able to avoid a dismissal of his or her claims against the defendant, if the plaintiff demonstrates that an issue of fact remains that must be resolved via trial. A plaintiff cannot defeat a defendant’s motion for dismissal via summary judgment by introducing a new theory of liability, however, as demonstrated in a recent New York medical malpractice case. If you were injured by incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a seasoned Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to obtain a favorable outcome.

Facts Regarding the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of lack of informed consent and negligence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Defeating a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the court reiterated the standard for determining whether a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim should be dismissed under New York law. Specifically, the court stated that a defendant seeking dismissal via summary judgment in a medical malpractice action must set forth a prima facie showing that he or she either did not depart from the accepted practice of medicine or that any departure from the accepted practice did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. The court further explained that dismissal via summary judgment is not appropriate in cases in which the parties produce conflicting expert reports.

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Generally, a physician must conduct a thorough and complete examination of a patient in order to provide the patient with an accurate diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment. Whether an examination was sufficient is generally a fact-specific question and varies from case to case. Recently, though, a New York court ruled that a plaintiff could proceed to trial on a medical malpractice claim arising out of the failure to conduct an adequate examination. If you suffered harm following an insufficient examination by your medical care provider, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorney to assess what claims you may be able to assert in pursuit of damages.

Factual Background

It is reported that over a series of weeks, the plaintiff alleged he received threatening phone calls. He subsequently contacted the police, and during the police investigation, the officers and a mobile crisis team found the plaintiff to be uncooperative and suspicious. Ultimately, the plaintiff was transferred to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Following an examination, he was deemed a danger to himself and others and involuntarily admitted. He was confined in two different hospitals for approximately a month. Following his discharge, he filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants that set forth numerous claims, including a medical malpractice claim against the physician that conducted his psychiatric evaluation. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.

Medical Malpractice Claims Arising Out of the Failure to Conduct a Sufficient Examination

As to the medical malpractice claim, the court explained that a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must prove that the defendant breached the standard of care that applies to his or her medical community and that the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. The court further noted that a plaintiff pursuing a medical malpractice claim in New York must present testimony from an expert to support his or her claims to demonstrate a prima facie malpractice claim.

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It is the well-established law in New York that a plaintiff only gets one bite of the theoretical apple. In other words, a plaintiff cannot seek the same damages or litigate the same claims multiple times. Not only does this prevent a plaintiff from seeking to relitigate claims following a final judgment, but it also may prevent a plaintiff from pursuing multiple concurrent claims for the same damages against the same parties. This was discussed in a recent New York case in which the court assessed whether to stay a plaintiff’s state court medical malpractice claims pending resolution of her federal court malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to negligent medical care, it is advisable to contact a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for seeking recourse.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure that was performed by the defendant. She subsequently filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the defendant asserting numerous claims, including intentional torts and medical malpractice, and alleged that the defendant caused her to suffer scars and other permanent harm, and performed the procedure without her consent. The defendant then filed a motion to stay the proceedings due to the fact that the plaintiff filed an action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against the defendant, arising out of the same set of facts and asserting the same claims. The plaintiff opposed the motion.

Colorado River Abstention

Pursuant to the Colorado River Abstention Doctrine (the Doctrine), in cases in which there are concurrent actions in state and federal court that involved the same parties and the same underlying issues, the court can issue a stay as to one of the proceedings to avoid piecemeal litigation. The court explained that the Doctrine should only be applied in instances involving the contemporaneous exercise of concurrent jurisdictions. As such, the court must find the proceedings are parallel to issue a stay.

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In many medical malpractice cases, after discovery is complete, the defendant will file a motion for summary judgment asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. In any case in which a defendant files a motion for summary judgment, it is critical for the plaintiff to respond to the motion in a prompt manner, and if the plaintiff fails to do so, his or her claims may be dismissed, regardless of their merit. In some cases, though, a plaintiff may be able to demonstrate that a failure to respond is excusable and avoid dismissal, as shown in a recent New York appellate case. If you suffered injuries because of negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a capable Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to assert to safeguard your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendants for a recurring fainting condition. She subsequently suffered injuries due to negligent treatment, after which she filed a medical malpractice case against the defendants. Following discovery, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff failed to file a response in time, however, and the court granted the defendant’s motion as unopposed, dismissing the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff then filed a motion to vacate the court’s order, which was denied, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Excusable Failure to Respond to a Motion for Summary Judgment

Under New York law, a plaintiff seeking to vacate a default in opposing a motion must demonstrate that there was a reasonable excuse for the default and that he or she has a potentially meritorious defense to the motion. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the failure to respond was the result of a scheduling error on behalf of her attorney, and was not intentional or the result of willful neglect, and that in consideration of the strong public policy in favor of resolving disputes on their merits, the lower court’s decision constituted an abuse of discretion.

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Under New York law, a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must establish that a treating medical provider breached a duty the provider owed the plaintiff. Specifically, the plaintiff must show that the medical provider deviated from accepted medical practice. In other words, a provider cannot be held liable for medical malpractice for failing to undertake acts not required by the standard of care. This was discussed in a recent case decided by a New York appellate court, in which the plaintiff alleged a physician that treated him during an involuntary confinement committed malpractice by failing to review his criminal history.  If you suffered harm due to negligent medical care, it is prudent to seek the advice of a skillful Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding whether you may have a viable claim.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that in 1983 the plaintiff was indicted for multiple crimes, including burglary and sodomizing a child. He pleaded guilty to the burglary charge and was sentenced to eight to sixteen years imprisonment. He served thirteen years in prison, and during his imprisonment was admitted to a psychiatric hospital numerous times. Following his release from prison, he was retained in a state mental health facility for six years. After his eventual release, he filed multiple claims against the State, including medical malpractice.

Reportedly, the basis of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim was the assertion that his treatment arose out of the belief that he plead guilty to sodomy, even though he did not. He further alleged that the treatment he received based on this mistaken belief caused him to suffer anxiety and denied him certain privileges. The court entered a judgment in favor of the defendant following a trial. The plaintiff then appealed.

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