There are several elements to a successful medical malpractice claim. In other words, a plaintiff must not only prove the defendant acted negligently, and in doing so, harmed the plaintiff but must also comply with the procedural rules for pursuing damages. All too often, however, the plaintiff’s claims are dismissed due to procedural defects, as illustrated in a recent New York ruling where the court dismissed the plaintiff’s psychiatric malpractice claim due to failure to prosecute. If you were harmed by a mental health professional’s failure to provide you with a proper diagnosis, you could be owed compensation and should speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your rights.
The Plaintiff’s Harm and Allegations
Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous mental health providers, arguing that they departed from the standard of medical care and acted beyond the bounds of professionalism. Specifically, he alleged they failed to provide him with an accurate diagnosis, failed to take heed of his prior diagnoses, declined to speak to his treating psychiatrist, and refused to institute appropriate procedures, treatment, and care. The court ultimately dismissed his complaint due to his failure to comply with the discovery rules and orders issued by the court regarding the prosecution of the case. He then appealed.
Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute
On appeal, the court noted that Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37 and 41(b) expressly provide for dismissals for failing to prosecute and failing to comply with discovery orders. A court reviewing dismissals pursuant to these rules will only reverse them if the trial court demonstrated an abuse of discretion. In conducting its review, the courts must be mindful that dismissal under Rule 41(b) for failure to prosecute is a harsh sanction that is only to be used in extreme situations.