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New York Court Dismisses Hospital Malpractice Case Due to Insufficient Evidence

In many instances in which a person harmed by negligent medical care pursues damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the defendant healthcare provider will attempt to refute liability by arguing that the person’s harm was not proximately caused by the defendant’s acts. In such cases, if the plaintiff does not produce sufficient evidence to refute the defendant’s position, the plaintiff’s case may be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case via summary judgment. If you or a family member suffered harm due as a result of negligent care rendered in a  hospital, it is in your best interest to speak with a proficient Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the defendant hospital for treatment. The decedent developed a sacral ulcer, which did not heal. Following the decedent’s death, the plaintiff instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant departed from the applicable standard of care in treating the decedent’s sacral ulcer, thereby causing the decedent to suffer harm. The defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment, but the trial court denied the defendant’s motion. The defendant subsequently appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court overturned the trial court ruling, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

Avoiding Dismissal Via Summary Judgment in a Hospital Malpractice Case

On appeal, the appellate court noted that the defendant set forth a prima facie case that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, as required to obtain a dismissal via summary judgment. Specifically, the defendant produced an affirmation from a medical expert that stated that the defendant’s treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent’s sacral ulcer comported with accepted and good practice. Further, the affirmation stated that the failure of the plaintiff’s decedent’s ulcer to heal was caused by the decedent’s pre-existing conditions, rather than any acts or omissions on behalf of the defendant.

Further, the appellate court noted that to survive summary judgment following the defendant’s production of its affirmation, the plaintiff was required to introduce a triable issue of fact. The plaintiff failed to do so, however, and merely set forth an affirmation from an expert that offered misstatements of evidence, general conclusions, and allegations that lacked support. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert affirmation was insufficient to establish that the defendant deviated from the standard of care. Additionally, the appellate court noted that the plaintiff’s expert failed to address the issue of whether the plaintiff’s decedent’s comorbidities contributed to her harm. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling and granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Meet with a Capable Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured by inadequate care while you were hospitalized, it is wise to meet with a capable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover. The vigilant attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have the skills and resources to help you seek a favorable outcome, and we will zealously pursue any damages you may be owed. We can be reached via our form online or at 833-200-2000 to schedule a complimentary and confidential consultation.

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