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Court Highlights the Need to Comply with Procedural Requirements in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Plaintiffs seeking damages in New York medical malpractice lawsuits are subject to a high burden of proof, and in many cases, the defendant health care providers are able to successfully argue that the plaintiff has not met his or her burden of proof and obtain a dismissal via summary judgment prior to trial. Regardless of the sufficiency of either party’s case, however, they must comply with the New York rules of civil procedure and the failure to abide by those rules can affect the outcome of the case. This was demonstrated in a recent orthopedic malpractice case in which the court denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment as untimely. If you suffered an injury or illness because of orthopedic malpractice it is imperative to meet with a skilled Rochester orthopedic malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee, which was performed by the defendant orthopedic surgeon. She developed an infection and eight days after her surgery and presented to the emergency room of the defendant hospital. She underwent irrigation and debridement and was referred to an infectious disease specialist, who managed the infection with antibiotics and observation. The plaintiff subsequently developed acute renal failure due to the antibiotic she was prescribed.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant orthopedist and defendant hospital, arguing that their negligent care ultimately caused her to sustain renal failure. Per the rules of the judge assigned to the case, the deadline for either party to file a motion for summary judgment was February 14, 2017. The defendants did not file a motion for summary judgment until March 29, 2017, however, at which time they also filed a motion to extend the deadline for filing the motion. The court dismissed both motions as untimely and the defendants appealed.

Dismissal of Motion for Summary Judgment as Untimely

CPLR 321(a), which provides the guidelines for filing a motion for summary judgment, states that the court may set a date after which no motions may be filed. In cases where the court does not set a date, summary judgment motions must be filed no later than 120 days after the note of issue is filed, unless the moving party shows good cause for the delay and obtains leave of court. The court noted that statutory time frames are requirements, not options, and they are to be taken seriously by both parties.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the defendants’ motions for summary judgment were properly denied. The court stated that although the defendants were aware of the deadline, they waited 43 days until after the deadline had passed to file their motions or request an extension. The court found that the defendants had not established good cause for their delay, either. Thus the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak with a Trusted Attorney to Discuss Your Claims

Successfully recovering compensation in an orthopedic malpractice case requires not only adequate evidence in support of the position that an orthopedic doctor’s negligence caused you harm but also compliance with the rules of civil procedure. If you sustained harm because of an orthopedic surgeon’s negligence you should speak with a trusted Rochester orthopedic malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The knowledgeable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will zealously pursue the full amount of damages you might be able to recover. You can contact us through our online form or at 585-653-7343 to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

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