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New York Court Discusses Pleading Standards in Medical Malpractice Claims

People that live with mental illness sadly often harbor ideations of self-harm. If a mental health provider treating a patient with depression or anxiety fails to prevent their death by suicide, the patient’s family members can pursue medical malpractice claims against the provider. In order to institute a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff merely needs to set forth a complaint with allegations sufficient to support their assertions. In other words, they do not need to offer evidence in support of their claims, as explained by a New York court in a recent case. If you sustained losses because of a negligent healthcare provider, it is advisable to meet with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the decedent had a history of mental illnesses, including depression and schizoaffective disorder. During confinement in a state facility, she was placed on suicide watch before being moved to the general population. The defendant provided mental health services to the decedent and made the decision to move her to the general population.

Reportedly, the decedent began to exhibit signs of increased depression and anxiety after she was moved to the general population. She hanged herself, and due to the facility’s failure to conduct a complete inspection of the decedent’s floor, she was not discovered for over 20 minutes. She ultimately died from her injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting, inter alia, a medical malpractice claim. The defendant moved to dismiss the medical malpractice claim on the grounds that the plaintiff did not allege the standard of care the defendant allegedly violated.

Pleading Standards in Medical Malpractice Cases

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the medical malpractice claim. The court explained that to survive a motion to dismiss at the federal level, a complaint must set forth sufficient facts to state a claim for relief that is, on its face, plausible. The court elaborated that a claim is facially plausible if it contains factual content that permits the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is committed the alleged misconduct.

Although complaints do not need detailed factual assertions, they must set forth more than mere legal conclusions and formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action. In other words, they must be adequate to raise a right to relief above the level of speculation. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff adequately his medical malpractice claims against the defendant. Thus, it denied the defendant’s motion.

Confer with a Trusted Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Doctors have a duty to protect their patients from harm, and if they fail to uphold their duties, they may be deemed liable for medical malpractice. If you lost a loved one due to a doctor’s oversights, you should confer with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The trusted Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and advise you of your possible causes of action. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.

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