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Court Discusses Burdens of Proof in a New York Cardiology Malpractice Case

Summary judgment is a harsh remedy that is only to be used in the clearest cases. Thus, even if a defendant in a medical malpractice case establishes a prima facie right to judgment as a matter of law, the claims against the defendant will not be dismissed if the plaintiff establishes that there is a question of fact as to whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm. A New York court recently analyzed what evidence is sufficient for each party to meet their burden of proof in a cardiology malpractice claim. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent cardiac care, you should meet with a proficient Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to establish liability.

Facts Concerning the Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Health

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent died of a heart attack while he was at work. It was later revealed the heart attack was due to congestive heart failure, which was caused by hypertension and arteriosclerotic heart disease. Less than two weeks prior to the decedent’s death, he reportedly visited his primary care physician, who referred him to the defendant cardiologist due to abnormal lab results.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice claim against the defendant, arguing the defendant failed to properly address the decedent’s abnormal test results and cardiac risk factors. After the completion of discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.

Burdens of Proof in Motion for Summary Judgment

Under New York law, summary judgment is only appropriate where there is no true issue of material fact. In determining whether summary judgment is warranted, the court must review the evidence in a light that is most beneficial to the plaintiff. The party seeking dismissal via summary judgment must establish via admissible evidence that there is no issue of fact that would require the court to try the case. Thus, in seeking summary judgment in a malpractice case, a defendant must show that there was no deviation or departure from the applicable standard of care, or that any deviation did not cause the harm alleged.

In the subject case, the court found that the evidence produced by the defendant, including the defendant’s expert affidavit, was sufficient to establish that the defendant did not deviate from the standard of care. The court noted, however, that the plaintiff’s expert refuted the contentions set forth in the defendant’s expert affidavit. Thus, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert raised issues of fact as to whether the defendant deviated from the accepted standard of care and whether the deviation substantially contributed to the decedent’s death. As such, the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Consult a Capable Cardiology Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured by negligent care rendered by a cardiologist, it is prudent to meet with a capable Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney to discuss your injuries and what compensation you may be able to recover. The knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to gather the evidence needed to help you seek a favorable outcome. We can be reached at 585-653-7343 or through our form online to set up a consultation.

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