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New York Court Discusses COVID-19 Related Medical Malpractice Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented changes in the way we live our lives. Among other things, it altered the healthcare system and the level of care people could expect with regard to the diagnosis and treatment of the coronavirus. While some of the laws providing immunity to healthcare providers for actions taken in response to COVID-19 have been repealed, they nonetheless may still apply to older claims, as demonstrated by a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a nursing home negligence case. If you or someone you love sustained losses due to the negligence of healthcare providers in a nursing home setting, you have the right to pursue claims for your losses, and it is advisable to contact a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

Case Setting

It is reported that the plaintiff, acting as the administratrix of the decedent’s estate, filed a lawsuit alleging that the defendant’s negligence led to the decedent’s death from COVID-19. The complaint asserted that the defendant failed to implement proper infection control measures despite prior warnings, resulting in the decedent’s death. The plaintiff’s claims included violations of Public Health Law, negligence, gross negligence, and wrongful death. The defendant moved to dismiss these claims under various immunity defenses provided by state and federal laws, including the New York State Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA), the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), and New York State Executive Order No. 202.10.

COVID-19 Related Medical Malpractice Claims

The court reviewed the defendant’s motion to dismiss, considering whether the plaintiff’s claims fit within any cognizable legal theory. Regarding the causes of action for negligence, violations of Public Health Law, and wrongful death, the court found that the EDTPA provided immunity to healthcare facilities like the defendant for actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the EDTPA was repealed, the repeal did not apply retroactively as established in previous appellate division rulings. As such, the court found that the defendant was entitled to immunity under the EDTPA, leading to the dismissal of these claims.

Additionally, the court dismissed the gross negligence cause of action, as the plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead specific acts demonstrating intentional wrongdoing or reckless indifference by the defendant. Based on the foregoing, the court concluded that the defendant was entitled to dismissal of all claims against it, and the plaintiff’s arguments regarding the State Litigation Coordination Panel were deemed without merit. Therefore, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.

Meet with an Experienced Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered harm while receiving care in a facility, you may be owed damages, and you should meet with an attorney to evaluate whether you should pursue a medical malpractice claim. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at holding negligent healthcare providers responsible for the harm they cause, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us by calling 833-200-2000 or using our online form to arrange a meeting.

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