Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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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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Medical malpractice claims do not only arise out of improperly performed procedures or a delay in diagnosis or treating an illness. Rather, a patient can seek damages from a physician if the patient is harmed by the physician’s failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent prior to providing treatment. In a recent case decided by a court in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the standards for determining whether a practitioner deviated from the standard of care in an informed consent claim were discussed.  If you sustained damages due to your doctor’s failure to advise you of the risks of a procedure or treatment, you should confer with a trusted Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding what redress may be available for your harm.

Facts and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was suffering from prostate cancer, sought treatment from the defendant oncologist. The defendant treated and counseled the plaintiff. The plaintiff subsequently suffered debilitating side effects from the treatment that left him permanently disabled. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant oncologist and defendant hospital, alleging that the defendant oncologist deviated from the standard of care in administering the treatment and that the defendant oncologist failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to the treatment. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff then filed a motion to have the verdict set aside as against the weight of the evidence.

Proving Deviation from the Standard of Care in Lack of Informed Consent Claims

The main issues on appeal were whether the court erred in precluding portions of the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony at trial and whether the plaintiff’s expert testimony was sufficient to establish that the defendant oncologist deviated from the standard of care. Ultimately, the court found that the evidence supported the jury’s findings in favor of the defendant and denied the plaintiff’s motion. Specifically, the court ruled that the defendant oncologist did not depart from the standard of care or fail to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to treatment.

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Generally, a person injured by medical malpractice has the discretion to choose where to file a lawsuit seeking damages. If the defendant believes a lawsuit was filed in an improper county, though, the defendant can challenge the plaintiff’s selection and petition the court to move the case to another location. Recently, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York, discussed the basis for transferring a matter to another venue, in a case alleging medical malpractice against numerous defendants. If you were injured by negligent medical care, it is critical to retain a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing your claims in the appropriate venue.

Factual and Procedural Background

Allegedly, the plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice action in Dutchess County against numerous care providers. The chosen venue was based upon the purported location of the main office of one of the defendants. The defendants then filed motions to change the venue of the case to Tompkins County. The plaintiffs objected to the defendants’ motions, but the trial court granted the motions on the grounds that Dutchess County was not a proper county for pursuing the claims, despite the plaintiffs’ objections. The plaintiffs then appealed.

What Constitutes Proper Venue in a Medical Malpractice Case

In New York, a defendant can file a motion to change the place of a trial where the county chosen by the plaintiff is not the proper county. To successfully prove a change of venue is warranted, the defendant must not only show that the plaintiff’s chosen venue is improper but also that the venue chosen by the defendant is proper. If the defendant meets this burden, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to show that the chosen venue is, in fact, proper.

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Many medical providers are employees of larger medical groups. As such, patients harmed by negligent medical care often not only pursue claims against the treating physician but also against the hospital or medical group that employed the physician. Depending on the facts of the case, however, the court may decline to allow a plaintiff to proceed against a doctor and the doctor’s employer in the same case. The standards for determining whether claims against a doctor and the medical group that employed the doctor should be severed were recently set forth in a primary care malpractice case reviewed by a New York appellate court. If you were injured by negligent care rendered by a primary care physician, it is advisable to meet with a proficient Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant primary care physician engaged in inappropriate physical contact with the plaintiff during a routine physical. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice claims against the defendant physician and the defendant medical group that employed the defendant physician. The plaintiff also asserted negligent hiring and supervision, and vicarious liability claims against the defendant medical group. The defendant physician filed a motion to sever the claim against him from the remaining claims. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Severance of Claims in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

In New York, a court may order a severance of certain claims or may order a separate trial of any issue or claim. In the subject case, the defendant physician alleged that the claims against the defendant medical group arose out of the allegation that the defendant physician engaged in similar conduct with another patient. The defendant physician further alleged evidence of whether he previously acted inappropriately with a patient would not be admissible in a trial on the issue of whether he was liable to the plaintiff for medical malpractice.

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In most medical malpractice cases, the injured parties will try to resolve the case as swiftly as possible, so that they can attempt to repair the harm they suffered and move forward in life. In some instances, however, the injured party will delay in proceeding with his or her case, resulting in protracted litigation. In a recent case ruled upon by an New York appellate court, the court analyzed when a plaintiff’s delay in prosecuting a medical malpractice case constitutes sufficient grounds for dismissal of the action. If you suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your harm and whether you may be able to recoup damages.

Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant hospital in August 2014. Subsequently, in December 2017, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to prosecute, pursuant to the New York rules of civil procedure. Additionally, the defendant argued that the action should be dismissed because the plaintiff had not narrowed his demands regarding the witnesses affiliated with the defendant hospital that he wanted to depose, despite court orders and stipulations directing him to do so. The court granted the defendant’s motion on both grounds, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court reversed and remitted the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

Dismissal of a Complaint

Under New York law, the courts do not have authority to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute unless the plaintiff has been served with a 90-day notice. In the subject case, it was undisputed that neither the defendant nor the trial court served the required 90-day notice upon the plaintiff. As such, the trial court lacked authority to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to prosecute.

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In many cases in which a person is harmed by primary care malpractice, he or she may be unable to pursue a claim on his or her own behalf. In such instances, a guardian can be appointed to assert the injured party’s right to seek damages. In a recent primary care malpractice case decided by a New York appellate court, the court discussed the specifics of how claims on behalf of an incapacitated person may be pursued. If you or a loved one were injured due to inadequate care rendered by a primary care physician, it is essential to meet with a knowledgeable Rochester primary care malpractice attorney to discuss your injuries and what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff patient underwent a colonoscopy in May 2014, after which he collapsed. He has been in a coma since the procedure. The plaintiff wife subsequently filed a medical malpractice action against numerous parties, including the plaintiff patient’s primary care physician. The plaintiff wife sued individually and as the proposed guardian of the plaintiff patient. It is alleged that the defendant primary care physician filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff wife lacked standing to act on behalf of the plaintiff patient. In turn, the plaintiff wife opposed the defendant’s motion and filed an unopposed motion to be appointed as the guardian of the plaintiff patient. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and granted the defendant’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Primary Care Malpractice Claims Involving an Incapacitated Person

On appeal, the court stated that an incapacitated person who has not been declared incompetent can file a lawsuit or be sued, similar to any other person. Further, the court noted that under the New York Rules of Civil Procedure, a guardian can be appointed at any stage of litigation. In other words, a guardian need not be appointed prior to the commencement of an action.

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