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Court Discusses Standard for Granting Extension of Time to Serve New York Medical Malpractice Complaint

There are multiple facets that must combine for a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim to be successful. First, the plaintiff must possess sufficient facts and evidence to show that the defendant medical provider should be held liable for the plaintiff’s alleged harm. Additionally, the plaintiff must comply with the procedural rules that dictate the manner in which a claim is prosecuted. For example, even if a plaintiff can present a strong case against a defendant, if the plaintiff fails to serve the initial pleading in a lawsuit in a timely manner, it may detrimentally affect his or her claim. In some cases, a plaintiff may be granted an extension of time to serve a lawsuit. A New York court recently discussed the standards for determining whether to grant a plaintiff an extension to serve a Complaint in a medical malpractice case. If your medical provider rendered negligence care that caused you to sustain an injury or illness, it is important to retain a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing your claim.

Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff instituted a medical malpractice action in November 2016 by filing a Complaint. The Complaint set forth allegations that the defendant committed medical malpractice due to the failure to remove broken glass from the plaintiff’s leg. The defendant was reportedly served with the Complaint in December 2016. In February 2017, however, the defendant filed an answer to the Complaint and set forth the affirmative defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff then moved for an extension of time to serve the defendant with a Complaint. The defendant filed a counter motion to dismiss the Complaint due to lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion and denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant appealed.

The Standard for Granting Extension of Time

It is within the court’s discretion to grant a plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time to serve a Complaint. The court may only grant such a motion for good cause shown or if granting the motion is in the interest of justice. Good cause and the interest of justice are two distinct statutory standards. To demonstrate good cause, a plaintiff must show he or she made a reasonably diligent attempt to serve the defendant with the Complaint. Showing that an extension is in the interest of justice requires the court to analyze the balance of the party’s competing interests in the context of the facts of the case.

When a plaintiff requests an extension of time in the interest of justice, he or she does not have to show a reasonable effort at effectuating service, unlike a request for an extension based on good cause. The court can consider attempts at serving the Complaint in evaluating whether an extension would be in the interest of justice, however. In the subject case, the court found that it was necessary to grant the plaintiff an extension of time in the interest of justice. Specifically, the court noted that the plaintiff attempted service on several occasions and promptly requested an extension as soon as the defendant argued that service was defective. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Retain a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed by negligent medical care, you should retain a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to assist you in pursuing a claim for damages. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano will aggressively pursue any damages you may be owed. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or through our online form to set up a free and confidential meeting.

More Blog Posts:

New York Court Rules the Failure to Provide an Expert Affirmation is Fatal to a Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Claim, Syracuse Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 28, 2019

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