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New York Court Discusses Spoliation of Evidence in Medical Malpractice Case

In any case where it is alleged that inadequate treatment rendered by a medical care provider caused a person harm it is important to retain any evidence that supports the inference of medical malpractice. If a person loses or destroys evidence of the quality of the care rendered, it may not only affect the person’s case, it may result in sanctions or the case being dismissed altogether.

The appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed the standard for taking adverse action against the plaintiff due to the loss of evidence. In doing so, the court affirmed that the plaintiff was not responsible for the loss of evidence and should not face sanctions. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is crucial to keep any evidence of the treatment you received and to retain a skilled  Rochester medical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of damages from the providers who caused your harm.

Facts Regarding the Evidence in Question

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit against the defendant doctor. At some point prior to commencing the subject lawsuit, the plaintiff obtained mammography films from the hospital where they were taken and gave them to another facility for continuing treatment. The plaintiff was not in possession of the films at any time after she gave them to the second facility. After the lawsuit was filed, it became evident that no one could locate the plaintiff’s mammography films. As such, the defendant filed a motion to strike the Complaint, alleging spoliation of the evidence. The trial court denied the motion, after which the defendant appealed.

Spoliation of Evidence

Spoliation of evidence occurs when a person intentionally destroys or negligently loses key evidence in a case. When evidence has been lost or destroyed, the person responsible for the loss of evidence may face sanctions under CPLR 3126. CPLR 3126 allows for a variety of sanctions, ranging from an order ruling that certain issues to which the evidence pertained were resolved to a dismissal of the case in its entirety. In the subject case, the court stated that it could not be presumed that the plaintiff was responsible films’ disappearance or that she in some way disposed of the films in an attempt to aid her case or diminish the defendant’s defenses. As there was no evidence in support of the allegation that the plaintiff intentionally or negligently lost the films, the court found the trial court acted appropriately in denying the defendant’s motion.

Meet with a Seasoned Medical Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case

While it is important to retain any evidence that supports the allegation of medical malpractice, an injured party should not be penalized for the loss of evidence that was not in his or her possession. If you were injured due to incompetent medical care, you should meet with a seasoned Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers will help you develop effective arguments that will provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result under the facts of your case. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or through our online form to set up a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

New York Court Affirms Verdict in Favor of Plaintiff for Injuries Caused by Method of Delivery During Birth, Rochester Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog, January 15, 2018

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