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New York Court Explains Consequences of Failing to Comply with Discovery in a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice cases are typically document-intensive, as both plaintiffs and defendants rely on medical records to support their positions, and discovery is a critical component of such cases. As such, if a party fails to comply with discovery requests, it may greatly impair their opponent’s ability to prove their claim or defense. The courts take a party’s refusal to answer discovery requests seriously and, as shown in a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice case, may find it constitutes grounds for dismissing a case in its entirety. If you suffered injuries due to a negligently performed procedure, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney to determine your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was from South Korea, presented to the defendant’s office for gynecologic care in November 2017. At that time, the defendant confirmed that the plaintiff was five weeks pregnant. Later that week, the defendant performed an abortion on the plaintiff, which the plaintiff alleged deviated from the accepted and good practice of medicine.

Reportedly, the plaintiff returned home to South Korea the following month, where a doctor advised her that she was nine weeks pregnant with an unhealthy fetus that was likely to suffer birth defects. She underwent a second abortion procedure that was successful. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the negligently performed abortion caused her to sustain permanent losses and rendered her unable to work for several months.

Allegedly, as the case progressed, the defendant served discovery requests on the plaintiff. The plaintiff neglected to comply with such requests, however, which prompted the defendant to file a motion to compel. The court granted the motion, but the plaintiff ignored the order; the defendant then moved for dismissal.

Sanctions for Failing to Comply with Discovery Requests

The court ultimately granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case due to her refusal to comply with discovery requests. The court disagreed with the plaintiff’s assertions that she had complied with the defendant’s requests, noting that it further proved her refusal to comply or correct the deficiencies in her prior responses.

To the extent that the plaintiff attempted to raise new issues in her arguments in opposition to the defendant’s motion, the court refused to consider them on the grounds that they should have been raised earlier. Based on the foregoing, it dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Talk to a Trusted Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Patients expect doctors to perform procedures with great care, and when they do not, the consequences are often devastating. If you sustained damages because of the carelessness of your treatment provider, you might be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice case, and you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options and help you to seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.

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