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Court Issues Order Compelling Remote Depositions in Medical Malpractice Case in New York

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered many aspects of people’s lives, including how medical malpractice lawsuits are litigated. Thus, since the Spring of 2020, courts have grappled with the issue of how to protect the rights of parties involved in cases involving medical negligence claims while remaining within the confines of the law. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion addressing the discrete issue of whether to compel a party to sit for a remote deposition in a case arising out of gynecologic malpractice. If you sustained losses due to a negligent gynecologist, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent treated the defendant gynecologist for an unspecified issue. She subsequently lost her life due to complications arising from her treatment, which the plaintiff alleged was due to the defendant’s negligence. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The case progressed, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiff was reluctant to conduct depositions in person. Thus, she filed a motion seeking to compel the defendant to conduct the depositions remotely. The defendant objected to the motion, but the court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

The Right to Remote Depositions

The court noted that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most depositions were conducted in person. While the New York procedural rules are based on the assumption that depositions would be conducted in person, parties can stipulate to allow for depositions to be conducted remotely. Even if parties do not agree to remote depositions, though, the rule that depositions should take place in person is not rigid.

Rather, the courts have a right to issue an order conditioning, regulating, or limiting any disclosure device, including depositions. Any order doing so should be designed to prevent prejudice, disadvantage, or unreasonable annoyance or expense to either party. Even prior to the pandemic, numerous New York courts had ruled that a court has the power to compel parties to sit for a remote deposition, despite one party’s objection. The courts that have weighed in on the matter have held that a party asking for a remote deposition must show that it would counter an undue hardship if forced to sit for a deposition in person.

In the subject case, the court stated that throughout the pandemic, courts repeatedly ruled that the COVID-19 pandemic presents personal and public health risks that represent an undue hardship. Thus, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, finding that her request demonstrated the elements necessary for the court to order a remote deposition.

Speak to an Experienced Syracuse Attorney

If a doctor specializing in the care of women carelessly harms a patient, it may constitute gynecologic malpractice. If you were harmed due to the negligence of a gynecologist, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer to assess what claims you may be able to assert. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are adept at helping people harmed by negligent medical care protect their rights, and if we represent you, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or at 833-200-2000 to schedule a conference.

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