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Medical Group Ordered to Release Anesthesiologist Contracts by New York Appeals Court

Medical malpractice lawsuits, like all other forms of litigation, are subject to the jurisdiction’s rules of civil procedure. These rules are geared to make the litigation more efficient and predictable between the parties. The discovery process is a crucial pre-trial stage in which the parties gather evidence to prepare their cases. Medical malpractice cases often require the review of voluminous medical records and contracts to show whether a doctor, medical group, or hospital breached its standard of care.

Contract

The plaintiff filed a New York anesthesia malpractice lawsuit against his anesthesiologist, the anesthesiology group, and Peconic Bay Medical Center. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to ensure the proper anesthesia prophylaxis with regard to an operation performed on him at Peconic Bay Medical Center. His complaint alleged that as a result of the malpractice, he suffered severe injuries and complications. When the alleged malpractice occurred, a nonparty to the lawsuit was the president and sole shareholder of the anesthesia practice and its director of anesthesia services. The plaintiff requested, as part of the lawsuit discovery process, all contracts related to anesthesia services among the defendants to the lawsuit. The plaintiff filed a motion to compel those discovery requests, but the trial court granted a protective order to the defendants. The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s ruling with regard to the discovery request.

New York law provides that defendants must make a full disclosure of any facts material and necessary in the prosecution of a complaint or cause of action. New York courts have interpreted this rule as one that should be interpreted broadly and requires the disclosure, when requested, of any facts that will assist preparation for trial by identifying the issues and reducing unnecessary delay.

The court reviewed deposition testimony and concluded that the nonparty who was subject to the discovery request was, in fact, the president of the anesthesiologist group as well as the director of anesthesia services at the defendant medical center. This nonparty also testified that he entered into an agreement, as an individual, with the medical center. This was enough evidence for the appeals court to rule that the contract might provide material evidence regarding the medical center’s control over the anesthesiologist group. Therefore, the appeals court overturned the trial court’s decision and granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery of all existing contracts and agreements material to the issues at hand.

This case demonstrates the importance of having experienced medical malpractice and anesthesia error attorneys to navigate the court system’s procedural rules. Our firm has extensive experience. Call us if you believe you have a case. Consultations are always free, and you are not responsible for legal fees unless we are able to recover money for you. To speak with an attorney about your anesthesia error case, call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers at 315-479-9000 or contact us online. We offer evening and weekend appointments as well as home and hospital visits.

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Photo Credit: edar, [CC0 Creative Commons], via Pixabay

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