Under New York law, parties harmed by the incompetence of medical professionals have the right to seek compensation. They must comply with any applicable procedural requirements and deadlines, however, and if they do not, they may waive the right to pursue certain claims. This was illustrated in a recent ruling issued by a New York court in a medical malpractice case, in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for leave to submit additional expert reports. If you suffered injuries due to the incompetence of a health care provider, it is in your best interest to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer concerning your rights.
History of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants under the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking compensation for unspecified harm suffered by her minor child. The court set a deadline by which the parties were to complete discovery. The deadline was extended on four occasions, but discovery ultimately closed, and the judge certified that the matter was ready for trial.
It is reported that three months after the close of discovery, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking leave to serve what she deemed supplemental expert reports. The defendants largely opposed the motion on the grounds that the reports were not supplemental but instead raised new theories of liability that should have been set forth during the time allotted for expert discovery. The court agreed and denied the motion. The plaintiff appealed.
Procedural Requirements in Medical Malpractice Claims Pursued in Federal Court
On appeal, the plaintiff did not dispute that her supplemental reports, in fact, asserted new theories of medical malpractice. Rather, she argued that she should be permitted to introduce the theories because they were harmless under the circumstances. The court disagreed, noting that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require expert witnesses to issue written reports setting forth all of the opinions they will express and the basis for the opinions.
If a party fails to make the required expert disclosure, it must show that the failure to do so was either harmless or substantially justified under the circumstances or that there is good cause for modifying the discovery schedule. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the plaintiff failed to prove that such a modification was warranted. Specifically, the appellate court explained that allowing the plaintiff to introduce any new theory of liability would prejudice the defendant, and therefore, was not harmless. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Meet with an Experienced Rochester Attorney
While patients who sustain damages due to negligent medical care have the right to seek compensation from their providers, they typically must assert all of their theories of liability at one time. If you were injured due to medical malpractice, you might be able to pursue claims against your doctor, and you should meet with a lawyer. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and advise you of what damages you may be owed. You can reach us through the online form or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.