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New York Court Analyzes Sufficient Evidence to Withstand Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, the burden shifts in medical malpractice cases from the plaintiff to the defendant, who must prove that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If the defendant meets this burden, the case will be dismissed, unless the plaintiff produces sufficient evidence to establish an issue of fact exists as to whether the defendant committed malpractice. Recently, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that her son was harmed by urological malpractice, a New York appellate court analyzed what constitutes sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact. If you were harmed by urology malpractice it is essential to engage a knowledgeable Syracuse urology malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing a claim for damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff mother took the plaintiff son to the emergency room due to complaints of pain. He was later diagnosed with testicular torsion and lost his right testicle. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a malpractice lawsuit against the urologist who treated plaintiff son in the emergency room, alleging that the failure to properly diagnose and treat the plaintiff son caused the loss of his right testicle. The defendant moved for summary judgment. In response, the plaintiffs submitted an affidavit of a Connecticut physician certified in pediatric emergency medicine.

It is alleged that the court found that the plaintiffs’ expert affidavit was insufficient to establish a triable issue of fact and granted the defendant’s motion. Specifically, the court stated that the plaintiffs’ expert was not qualified to opine on urological care and that he failed to establish that the standards of care in Connecticut were the same as those in New York. The plaintiffs appealed.

Sufficient Evidence of a Triable Issue of Fact

If a defendant seeks summary judgment in a urological malpractice case, he or she must make a prima facie showing that he or she did not depart from the standard of care, or that any departure did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm. If the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must submit facts or materials sufficient to refute the defendant’s showing to avoid dismissal. The courts have held that expert testimony is required to prove a deviation from the applicable standard of care and that the deviation was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm.

In the subject case, the court found that the trial court erred in finding that the plaintiff’s expert was not competent evidence of urological malpractice. The court stated that a medical expert does not need to be a specialist in a certain field to offer an opinion regarding practices in that field, but he or she nonetheless must have sufficient training, experience, and skill from which it can be assumed that his or her opinion is reliable.

Here, the plaintiffs’ expert was certified in pediatric emergency medicine and therefore, the court found that he was qualified to testify as to whether the failure to promptly diagnose and treat an emergent condition such as testicular torsion deviated from the standard of care. The court also found that the expert did not have to be from the exact geographic location to be competent to testify. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Capable Syracuse Attorney

If you suffered harm due to a urologist’s failure to provide adequate care you should meet with a capable Syracuse urology malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The proficient urology malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will gather the facts and evidence needed to develop strong arguments on your behalf and will work tirelessly to help you pursue a favorable result. We can be contacted via our online form or at 315-479-9000 to schedule a free and confidential meeting regarding your case.

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