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New York Court Discusses Pleading Requirements in Medical Malpractice Cases

Federal law does not require parties pursuing medical malpractice claims to include evidence in their initial pleadings. It does, however, require them to set forth factual assertions that are sufficient to inform defendants of the claims against them so that they may properly prepare defenses. Plaintiffs that fail to meet this burden may face the dismissal of their claims. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court terminated the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims due to the vagueness of her allegations. If you were injured while being treated in a hospital, it is smart to meet with a Rochester hospital malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant doctor due to a neck injury. The complaint sounded in medical malpractice, alleging the defendants failed to provide the plaintiff with x-rays and caused her pain and suffering. The complaint alluded to paralysis and included other indiscernible allegations. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that it failed to comply with the pleading standards established by the federal rules of civil procedure. The court agreed and granted the motion.

Pleading Standards in Medical Malpractice Claims

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 establishes the requirements for stating claims. In other words, a pleading setting forth a claim for relief must contain a statement of the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, a plain and short statement of the claim demonstrating that the pleader should be granted relief, and a demand for the relief sought.

The purpose of Rule 8 is to give parties fair notice of the claim being asserted so that the adverse party has the opportunity to file a responsive pleading, develop a sufficient defense, and assess whether the doctrine of res judicata operates to bar the plaintiff’s claim.

Additionally, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10 establishes the proper form for pleadings. Specifically, claims and defenses must be set forth in numbered paragraphs, with each one limited to a single set of circumstances if practical. Further, each claim based on a separate transaction must be set forth in a separate count. The goal of Rule 10 is to provide an easy method of identification for referring to a particular paragraph in a previous pleading.

Complaints that fail to comply with Rules 8 and 10 impose too heavy of a burden on defendants with regards to the duty to develop a thorough defense and provides the court with no basis for establishing the sufficiency of claims. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s complaint was grossly inadequate. Thus, it granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Consult an Experienced Rochester Lawyer

Hospitals have a duty to provide competent care, and when they do not, the consequences are often devastating. If you were injured by negligent care in a hospital, you have the right to file a hospital malpractice claim, and you should consult an attorney. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people injured by medical negligence in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will zealously pursue the best legal outcome available in your case. You can contact us via our form online or at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.


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