Medical malpractice cases are unusual in that a plaintiff will often have to rely on medical records obtained from the defendant to demonstrate the defendant’s liability. Thus, if a defendant loses or destroys a plaintiff’s treatment records prior to producing them, it can impair the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant was negligent. In such instances, a court may issue a sanction against the defendant. In a recent neurology malpractice case in New York, the court discussed spoliation and what a defendant must prove to avoid sanctions. If you were harmed by a negligent neurologist, you should speak to a capable Syracuse neurology malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.
Factual and Procedural History
It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated by the defendant neurologist at a medical center, and the defendant’s private office. The plaintiff ultimately suffered harm due to the progression of an epidural lipomatosis that the defendant failed to diagnose in a timely manner. Thus, the plaintiff instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth claims of medical malpractice and lack of informed consent.
It is reported that during the course of discovery, the plaintiff requested her treatment records from the defendant. The defendant produced a copy of the plaintiff’s chart but advised the plaintiff that she could not find the original chart. The plaintiff then filed a motion for sanctions for spoliation of evidence. The court granted the motion. The defendant later found the chart and moved for leave to renew her opposition to the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions. The motion was denied, however, and the defendant appealed.