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Court Explains Standard for Granting an Adjournment in a Medical Malpractice Case in New York

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.

Granting an Adjournment in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the appellate court explained that the order granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment was effectively granted upon the plaintiff’s default. Pursuant to the New York laws of procedure, a party cannot appeal a judgment or order granted due to its default. Rather, the appellate court explained, its review was limited to the issue of whether the trial court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ request for an additional adjournment was a proper exercise of discretion.

Under New York law, whether to grant an adjournment for any reason rests soundly within the discretion of the trial court. Thus, an appellate court will not disturb the trial court’s ruling absent an abuse of that discretion. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court properly employed its discretion in denying the plaintiffs’ request, as the plaintiffs did not set forth a timely request and did not establish a good cause for their delay. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Meet with a Trusted Rochester Attorney

Patients seeking to recover damages due to medical malpractice must not only set forth compelling arguments, but they must also comply with any deadlines imposed by the law or the court. If you sustained harm because of a negligent medical professional, you should meet with an attorney to evaluate your possible claims. The trusted Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed by incompetent care in the pursuit of compensation, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We can be reached through our online form or at 585-653-7343 to schedule a meeting.

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