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It is not uncommon for a person seeking medical treatment to travel to another state or for a care provider to treat patients in more than one state. In a patient is harmed by treatment rendered by an out of state care provider, though, it can be difficult to determine the proper jurisdiction for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed a plaintiff’s burden of proof in establishing that a medical malpractice case was filed in the appropriate jurisdiction, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered harm due to treatment from a New Jersey oncologist. If you were injured by inadequate care provided by an oncologist, it is advisable to consult a capable Syracuse oncology malpractice attorney to discuss the proper procedure for pursuing a claim for damages.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

Allegedly, the plaintiff was referred by the defendant New York hospital, to the defendant care center in New Jersey. The defendant care center provided the plaintiff with proton therapy treatment, which caused her to go blind. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant care center and the defendant providers, who specialized in radiation oncology. The New Jersey defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and ordered the parties to engage in jurisdictional discovery. Discovery was conducted, and the New Jersey defendants again filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the court again denied. The New Jersey defendants appealed.

Jurisdiction Over Out of State Providers

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling, finding that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence sufficient to show that the court could properly exercise jurisdiction over the New Jersey defendants. Specifically, the plaintiff was required to prove that the defendants, on their own volition, reached into the state of New York for the purposes of engaging in sustained and substantial business transactions that were directly related to the plaintiff’s claims, in order for the court to exercise jurisdiction under the New York long-arm statute.

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It is not uncommon for a physician that treats a patient to refer the patient to a specialist for the diagnosis or treatment of certain conditions. When multiple providers treat a person for a single issue, and the care provided is inadequate, it can be challenging to assess which care provider is ultimately responsible for the person’s harm. In a recent gynecologic malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the duties imposed on a care provider with regards to treatment by a specialist to whom the provider transfers a patient’s care. If you suffered harm due to negligent care rendered by a gynecologist, it is wise to speak with a seasoned Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding what compensation you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant gynecologist for a routine examination. During the examination, the defendant gynecologist felt a palpable mass that was tender to the touch in the plaintiff’s right breast. As such, the defendant gynecologist referred the plaintiff to the defendant breast surgeon for further examination. Upon examination, the defendant breast surgeon was unable to locate a palpable mass, which he reported to the defendant gynecologist. The mass in the plaintiff’s right breast was ultimately determined to be breast cancer. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendants for malpractice for delaying her cancer diagnosis. The defendant gynecologist filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Liability for Negligence When a Patient is Referred to Another Provider

Under New York law, it is axiomatic that a defendant in a medical malpractice case must prove that he or she did not deviate from the applicable standard of care or that any deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm, in order to obtain a dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. While a defendant in a medical malpractice case cannot be held vicariously liable for the malpractice of a care provider to whom the defendant refers a patient, the defendant can be held liable for his or her own negligent conduct that causes a patient harm.

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In any medical malpractice case, it is essential for the injured person to name the correct parties as defendants. In some cases, however, it is not immediately clear who the correct parties or entities are, and a plaintiff who names the incorrect parties may have his or her claims dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent obstetric malpractice case arising out of New York in which the defendants moved to substitute the United States as the defendant because the individually named defendants were eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you were harmed by a negligent obstetrician, you should consult a trusted Syracuse obstetric malpractice attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue against the parties that caused your harm.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment and Alleged Harm

The plaintiff received care at the defendant hospital throughout her pregnancy. In January 2011, she was admitted to the defendant hospital for the induction of labor. She ultimately filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant hospital and two individual treatment providers, alleging that they deviated from the standard of care in negligently failing to perform required diagnostic procedures and failing to diagnose the plaintiff’s placenta previa in a timely manner. The plaintiff did not file an administrative complaint regarding her allegations with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The defendant hospital had a contract to provide medical services with an integrated service system (ISS), which was the recipient of a grant from HHS to provide preventative health care. As a result, ISS was considered eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Thus, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the correct defendant was the United States.

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In most medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will rely on a jury to assess the evidence presented at trial to determine if the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s harm. While a jury determines the key issues in a case, the judge determines what evidence each party is permitted to introduce to the jury and what guidance and instructions the jury receives. As such, if a judge permits a defendant to introduce testimony that should be precluded or bars the plaintiff from setting forth relevant evidence, the plaintiff may subsequently receive an adverse verdict. In such cases, the plaintiff may be able to have the verdict set aside in the interest of justice. Recently, a New York appellate court assessing the verdict in an orthopedic malpractice case discussed the standard for vacating a verdict in the interest of justice. If you sustained damages due to a negligent orthopedist, it is in your best interest to speak with a skillful Syracuse orthopedic malpractice attorney regarding your case.

Evidence Introduced at Trial Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant orthopedic surgeon arising out of a negligently performed knee replacement. The plaintiff introduced evidence at trial that the defendant improperly fitted a prosthesis into the plaintiff’s knee, overstuffed the knee, and deviated from the accepted standard in providing post-operative care, all of which led to the need for revision surgery. Following the liability portion of the trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict in the interest of justice, which the court denied. The plaintiff then appealed the judgment and the order denying the motion.

Setting Aside a Verdict in the Interest of Justice

Pursuant to the New York laws of civil practice, the court may set aside a verdict in the interest of justice upon the motion of a party or by its own initiative. The rule is predicated on the belief that the judge presiding at a trial is in the best position to assess whether any errors were committed at trial. A motion to set aside a verdict in the interest of justice can arise out of errors in the trial court’s ruling regarding the admissibility of evidence, newly discovered evidence, surprise, or mistakes in charging the jury.

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In many medical malpractice lawsuits, there will be more than one defendant. Thus, it is not uncommon for a plaintiff to settle his or her claims against one defendant but to allow the remaining claims to proceed to trial. Typically, plaintiffs will wish to keep the terms of any settlement agreement confidential to protect their rights to seek a fair resolution of any remaining claims. The Supreme Court, Bronx County, New York, assessed when a plaintiff may be required to disclose the terms of a confidential settlement agreement in a recent orthopedic malpractice case. If you sustained an injury or illness because of inadequate care provided by an orthopedic surgeon, it is important to consult a capable Syracuse orthopedic malpractice attorney regarding your potential damages.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant orthopedic surgeon, defendant orthopedic medical group, and defendant hospital. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants inappropriately administered an antibiotic to treat an MRSA infection that the plaintiff developed following arthroscopic knee surgery. The plaintiff subsequently settled her claims against the defendant hospital. The remaining defendants then sought to compel the plaintiff to disclose the terms of the settlement agreement, which were confidential. The plaintiff opposed the motion, stating she was only obligated to disclose the amount of her settlement with the hospital after a verdict had been issued against the remaining defendants.

Discovery of the Terms of a Confidential Settlement Agreement

Upon reviewing the defendants’ motion, the court stated that settlement agreements are favored under New York law, as they allow parties to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation and help to preserve judicial resources. Additionally, the court noted that it benefits society to allow parties to develop their own resolution to a dispute rather than relying on court intervention. The court also explained that in many cases, confidentiality is required to protect the parties involved and to encourage a just resolution.

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While in some legal matters, a person may be tempted to proceed without a lawyer, medical malpractice cases are complex and involve a juxtaposition of medical and legal issues. Thus, it generally is in the best interest of a person seeking to recover damages in a medical malpractice case to be represented by an attorney. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case arising out of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in which the plaintiff proceeded pro se, and many of his claims were dismissed. If you sustained injuries due to a negligent care provider, it is wise to engage an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendant physicians at the defendant mental health center. During a treatment appointment, he requested that a student physician leave the room, and the doctor refused. The plaintiff attempted to file a grievance against the doctor but was asked to return on a later date. When he returned, he was questioned by the first doctor who was named as a defendant as to whether he had ever been admitted as an inpatient. Later that day, the plaintiff was picked up by the police and involuntarily committed to the defendant mental health center with diagnoses of delusional disorder and schizophrenia.

Allegedly, on the day after the plaintiff was admitted, the second doctor who was named as a defendant mocked him and told him he would be admitted for weeks. The plaintiff produced multiple forms of identification and proof that he was not delusional, but was not released for a week. Following his release, he filed a lawsuit asserting numerous claims against the defendants, including medical malpractice claims arising out of fraud and negligence. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

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In any civil lawsuit, it is essential for the plaintiff to assert the proper claims against the defendant, and the failure to do so can result in the dismissal of a case. For example, while negligence and medical malpractice claims bear many similarities, there are key distinctions between the two causes of action, and it is important for anyone seeking damages from a medical provider to ensure they are asserting the correct claim. This was evidenced in a recent case decided by a New York appellate court, in which the court reviewed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s negligence claim against a hospital due to the fact that her complaint sounded in medical malpractice.  If you were harmed by negligent care rendered in a hospital, it is critical to retain a seasoned Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing the appropriate claims for your harm.

Facts and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff donated blood at the defendant hospital’s blood donation center. After making her donation, she lost consciousness and fell and sustained injuries. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. Specifically, she alleged the defendant was negligent for failing to follow protocols for diminishing reactions in blood donors, failing to screen for health problems and obtain a thorough medical history, and failing to provide a medical examination before drawing blood.

It is alleged that the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting the plaintiff’s complaint set forth a medical malpractice claim, but the plaintiff failed to file the required certificate of merit. The plaintiff argued that no certificate of merit was required because the allegations in her complaint merely asserted a negligence claim, not a malpractice claim. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed.

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It is not uncommon for a defendant in a medical malpractice case to seek to have the case dismissed via a motion for summary judgment. Typically, the defendant’s motion will rely on an expert affidavit opining that the defendant met the standard of care. Even if a defendant sets forth a sufficient expert report, however, the injured party’s claim will not be dismissed if he or she presents an expert affidavit calling the defendant’s care into question. The appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed whether summary judgment is warranted where the parties have conflicting expert reports in an ob-gyn malpractice case in which the court affirmed that the plaintiff had set forth sufficient evidence of the defendants’ negligence. If you or your unborn child suffered harm because of inappropriate care provided by an obstetrician or gynecologist, you should meet with an assertive Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated by the defendant obstetrician-gynecologists during her pregnancy. In her third trimester, she complained of pain in her back and abdomen, which the defendants dismissed as normal pregnancy pains. At 28 weeks of gestation, however, it was revealed that the plaintiff suffered a placental abruption, which resulted in the intrauterine death of her fetus. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The court denied the motion, after which the defendants appealed.

Summary Judgment in Cases Involving Conflicting Expert Opinions

The court stated that the critical elements of a medical malpractice case are evidence of a departure from the accepted practice of medicine and that the departure proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, a defendant pursuing dismissal via summary judgment must make a prima facie showing that he or she met the standard of care, or that any departure did not bring about the plaintiff’s alleged harm. The court noted, however, the summary judgment is not appropriate in cases in which the parties produce conflicting affidavits from medical experts.

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Many times when a person presents to the emergency room of a hospital, multiple doctors will render treatment and care to the person. Thus, if the person subsequently suffers harm because the care provided was inadequate, there may be more than one care provider liable for the person’s harm. If a plaintiff cannot establish that the negligence of an individual defendant proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages, though, the plaintiff’s claims against that defendant will be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court granted summary judgment to an emergency room physician, ruling that any negligence on behalf of the physician did not harm the plaintiff’s decedent. If you or a loved one sustained harm due to inadequate care in a hospital, it is prudent to consult a trusted Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the emergency department of the defendant hospital with complaints of chest pain. He was initially evaluated by the first defendant emergency room physician, who ordered numerous tests. However, she did not order a CT scan, due to the fact that she felt a CT scan should not be conducted until after the decedent’s lab results were returned. The defendant emergency room doctor’s shift ended prior to her receiving the decedent’s lab results.

Reportedly, the decedent’s care was then turned over to the second defendant emergency room physician, who requested a consultation with the defendant cardiologist. The defendant cardiologist performed an aortogram to determine if the decedent had an aortic dissection. No CT scan was performed at that time. The decedent was ultimately discharged with suspected deep venous thrombosis and directed to follow up with a thrombosis clinic in two days. Three days after his discharge, the decedent died of hemopericardium due to a ruptured dissection of the aorta. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendants asserting claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment. Continue reading

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In many medical malpractice cases, whether the defendant is found liable for the plaintiff’s alleged harm hinges on the strength of the expert opinions set forth by each party. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the role of expert reports in medical malpractice claims and how such reports should be evaluated in a case alleging pediatric malpractice. If your child was injured by a negligent care provider, you should speak with a capable Syracuse pediatric malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against two sets of defendants who were pediatric specialists from a medical center and from a hospital after her minor son suffered a significant brain injury due to bilateral tension pneumothoraxes. The medical center defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion, after which the defendants appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Strength of Expert Opinions in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

In New York medical malpractice cases, a defendant seeking dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims via a motion for summary judgment must set forth factual proof that he or she complied with the applicable standard of care, or that even if the defendant departed from the standard of care, the departure did not harm the plaintiff. Typically, this is done through medical records, deposition testimony, and expert affidavits. If the defendant meets its burden, the plaintiff must then establish that a triable issue of fact exists, by setting forth an expert affidavit opining that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care and that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm.

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