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Court Discusses Grounds for Granting an Extension to File a Complaint in a New York Hospital Malpractice Case

In any medical malpractice lawsuit, it is important to hire an attorney who is mindful of statutory filing obligations, as the failure to comply with deadlines can drastically impair a plaintiff’s right to recover damages. Recently, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate division, discussed when it is appropriate to grant an extension in a hospital malpractice case, and when the case must be dismissed. If you sustained any injury or illness due to hospital malpractice it is vital to engage the services of a skilled Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to help you develop persuasive arguments in favor of your recovery.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was not represented by an attorney, filed an amended summons of notice on December 23, 2016. Approximately three and a half months later, on April 18, 2017, the defendants, three hospitals that provided treatment to plaintiff and one physician, filed a demand for a complaint. Subsequently, on May 25, 2016, the defendants moved to dismiss the action pursuant to CPLR 3012(b), due to the plaintiff’s failure to file the complaint in a timely manner.

Allegedly, the plaintiff opposed the motion, and filed her complaint on June 26, 2017, alleging claims of medical malpractice against the defendants. The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, and on its own accord granted the plaintiff an extension of time to serve the complaint. The court also ordered the defendants to accept the complaint. The defendants appealed.

Avoiding Dismissal Under CPLR 3012(b)

Under CPLR 3012(b), if a plaintiff does not serve his or her complaint with the summons of notice, the defendant can file a demand for the complaint. If the complaint is not filed within twenty days after the service of the demand, the court can dismiss the case. Under CPLR 3012(d), upon either party’s request, the court can extend the time to plead if the party shows a reasonable cause for the delay and a potentially meritorious cause of action.

In the subject case, the appellate court noted that even if the plaintiff had a reasonable excuse for her delay in serving the complaint, which was not established, the plaintiff did not show that she had a potentially meritorious cause of action. Specifically, the court noted that medical malpractice cases are based on matters not within the understanding of any ordinary person and rely on expert medical opinions to establish merit. As the plaintiff did not submit an expert affidavit, she did not show that she had a potentially meritorious medical malpractice claim. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Hospital Malpractice Attorney Today

Hospitals are required to ensure that the doctors and staff they employ treat patients in a manner that comports with the applicable standard of care. If you were injured because of negligent care that was rendered at a hospital, you should contact a skilled Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your harm and what damages you may be able to recover. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers, our trusted hospital malpractice attorneys will assertively seek a successful outcome. We can be contacted through the online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a confidential and free consultation to discuss your case.


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