Generally, a party pursuing medical malpractice claims in New York has the right to decide where to file their lawsuit, and the courts will generally defer to their choice of venue. There are exceptions, however, such as when the plaintiff and defendant entered into a contract that dictates where any disputes will be heard. In a ruling recently issued in a medical malpractice and wrongful death case, a New York court examined the enforceability of forum selection clauses. If you lost a loved one due to incompetent medical care, it is wise to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to determine your potential causes of action.
Procedural Background of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the negligent care rendered by the defendant caused his father’s death. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit in Bronx County, where he lived. The defendant moved to change the venue to Westchester County based on an admission agreement reportedly signed by the decedent’s wife when the decedent entered the defendant’s facility. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
Enforceability of Forum Selection Clauses
The appellate court ultimately reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that parties to a contract have the right to choose what forum will hear any disputes that may arise over the performance or interpretation of the contract. Forum selection clauses are prima facie valid and will be enforced unless they are shown to be unreasonable. Continue reading