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New York Court Declines to Exercise Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

While it is prudent for people who want to pursue civil claims to seek the assistance of an attorney in most instances, medical malpractice cases are especially complex, and the decision to proceed pro se often negatively impacts a plaintiff’s rights. The ramifications of pursuing medical malpractice claims without an attorney were demonstrated in a recent New York matter in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. If you were hurt by the negligence of a physician, it is in your best interest to retain a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assist you in protecting your interests.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital and discharged later the same day. He did not indicate the nature of his concerns in his complaint. Four days later, he suffered a medical incident and was taken to the defendant medical center, where he was again discharged the same day. He subsequently fell after his discharge and was readmitted. During his second admission to the medical center, he had a pacemaker implanted. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants in federal court, seeking $50,000 in compensation. He was not represented by an attorney and requested to proceed in forma pauperis.

Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

While the court granted the plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis, it dismissed the plaintiff’s claims without prejudice due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court explained that if it determines at any juncture that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a matter, it must dismiss the action.

In the subject case, the plaintiff asserted that the complaint set forth a federal question, and as federal courts have jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the laws, treaties, or Constitution of the United States, the court had subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. The court noted that cases properly invoke federal question jurisdiction when the plaintiff’s cause of action arises out of federal law or the complaint depends on the resolution of a significant question of federal law.

In the subject case, while interpreting the plaintiff’s claims to raise the strongest arguments they inferred, the court found that the complaint lacked any basis for the exercise of subject matter jurisdiction, as the claims did not arise under any federal law. Thus, it dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice.

Consult a Dedicated Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People hurt by negligently rendered care have the right to pursue medical malpractice, but if they fail to abide by the applicable rules of procedure, their claims may be dismissed. If you suffered harm because of the carelessness of a physician, it is smart to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at helping people harmed by incompetent medical care recover damages for their losses, and if you hire us, we will diligently pursue the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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