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Court Discusses New York Laws Barring Personal Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case

Generally, people harmed by negligent medical care in New York can pursue medical malpractice claims against the individuals that caused their injuries. There are some exceptions, though, that essentially bar the imposition of personal liability against certain parties. For example, New York law prohibits parties from seeking to recover damages from employees of the state correctional facilities in their individual capacity, regardless of what harm they cause. In a recent New York medical malpractice case, a court-enforced this law and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. If you or someone you love were hurt by a careless physician, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, when the plaintiff was confined to a federal facility, he injured his finger. He sought treatment for his finger from the defendant, who advised that it was dislocated but not broken. The plaintiff sought additional treatment on numerous occasions, but his treatment was repeatedly deferred. He ultimately underwent surgery almost six months after the injury occurred. Due to the delays in obtaining appropriate care, however, he suffered a permanent loss of mobility.

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit setting forth numerous causes of action against the defendant, including medical malpractice claims. The defendant moved to dismiss the medical malpractice claims on the grounds that they were barred by New York law.

New York Laws Barring Personal Liability

The court ultimately granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s medical negligence and medical malpractice claims. The court noted that New York Correction Law § 24 prohibits parties from pursuing claims against employees or officers of the New York Department of Correctional Services in their individual capacity, for any harm arising out of any action or omission performed within the scope of employment and in the discharge of work duties.

The court explained that district courts interpreting this provision consistently ruled that, by its plain terms, it barred the assertion of state law claims against correctional employees in their personal capacity in any jurisdiction, which included the federal courts. In the subject case, the defendant was working as an employee of the Department of Correctional Services when the alleged harm occurred, and the actions that allegedly harmed the plaintiff were undertaken in the course of his job performance. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were barred as a matter of law.

Meet with a Dedicated Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People harmed by incompetent medical care have the right to seek compensation for their losses via medical malpractice claims, but if they do not identify the correct party in their complaint, they may be denied compensation. If you sustained damages due to negligent medical care, it is smart to meet with a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your rights. The dedicated medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can examine your harm and aid you in pursuing the maximum recovery permitted under the law. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.


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