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Court Analyzes Time Limitations Summary Judgment Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

Most medical malpractice cases filed in New York are decided on their merits. In other words, if the case proceeds to trial, the judge or jury will ultimately decide the issue of liability and damages based on the evidence presented. In some instances, however, the outcome of a case will be determined by a party’s failure to comply with procedural rules. This was demonstrated in a recent surgical malpractice case arising out of Kings County, in which the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as untimely. If you suffered injuries because of an improperly performed surgical procedure, it is prudent to meet with a diligent Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiffs, husband, and wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants after the defendants allegedly lost a prosthetic part in the plaintiff husband’s body during a hip replacement surgery. After the completion of discovery, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiffs did not file a response to the defendants’ motion but instead filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the defendants’ motion as untimely. The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to reject the defendants’ motion due to its untimely nature and denied the defendants’ motion as academic. The defendants subsequently filed an appeal.

Time Limits for Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment

Under the New York laws of civil practice, courts have the discretion to impose deadlines for when either party can file a motion for summary judgment, with the caveat that the deadline cannot be more than thirty days earlier or one hundred and twenty days later than the filing of the note of issue, unless leave of court is shown or good cause is established. In Kings County, the rules provide that a party must move for summary judgment within sixty days of when a note of issue is filed unless the party seeks leave of court or shows good cause for an untimely filed motion.

In the subject case, the defendants’ motion was not filed within sixty days of when the note of issue was filed. Further, the defendants failed to provide any evidence indicating there was good cause for their delay in filing the motion. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling granting the plaintiff’s motion to reject the defendants’ motion as untimely. Accordingly, the court also affirmed the trial court ruling dismissing the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as academic.

Confer with an Experienced Surgical Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured because a doctor performed your surgery in a negligent manner, it is in your best interest to confer with an experienced  Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims. The skillful attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will aggressively advocate in your favor to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable result. You can contact us via our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a confidential and complimentary conference.

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