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New York Court Discusses Standard for Granting Summary Judgment in Obstetric Malpractice Case

In a New York medical malpractice case, the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff, with regards to proving whether the defendant caused the harm alleged. In many cases, after discovery is completed, the defendant will file a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case in its entirety on the basis that the plaintiff has insufficient evidence to support his or her claims. A New York court recently assessed whether the defendants were entitled to summary judgment, in a case in which the plaintiffs alleged the defendants committed obstetric malpractice by failing to diagnose the plaintiff child’s chromosomal disorder prior to birth. If your child was born with a condition or disorder that should have been diagnosed prior to his or her birth you should consult a skillful Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover damages.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff child was born with Cri Du Chat Syndrome (CDC).  The plaintiff parents filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant obstetrician, alleging that the defendant obstetrician committed medical malpractice by failing to discover the plaintiff child’s CDC prior to birth. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to address results of a blood test that indicated a potential chromosomal defect, failed to perform invasive genetic testing, and failed to perform sonograms after the 32ndweek of pregnancy to rule out intrauterine growth restriction. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case.

Standard for Granting Motion for Summary Judgment

The court noted that the defendant met the initial burden of showing their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting an expert affirmation stating that the defendant doctor did not depart from the appropriate standard of care. The court held, however, that the plaintiffs’ reply was adequate to overcome the defendants’ expert opinion.

Additionally, the court was not persuaded by the defendants’ argument that the plaintiff impermissibly raised a new theory of liability in response to the defendants’ motion. Specifically, the defendants alleged that the plaintiff first argued that the defendants were negligent in failing to perform genetic testing regardless of the mother’s blood test results. The court explained that a plaintiffs’ bill of particulars in a medical malpractice case must set forth a general statement of the acts or omissions that constitute negligence. The court stated that the plaintiffs bill of particulars met this standard, as it indicated that the defendants were negligent in failing to perform genetic testing. Thus, the court denied the defendants’ motion.

Consult an Experienced Rochester Obstetric Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your Case

If your child was born with a disorder that your obstetrician failed to diagnose prior to your child’s birth you may be able to seek compensation and should consult an experienced  Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney regarding your alleged harm. The proficient obstetric malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to help you recover the full amount of compensation you may be owed. We can be reached through our online form or at 833-200-2000 to schedule a meeting regarding your case.


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