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New York Court Discusses Avoiding Dismissal of a Malpractice Claim

When a child suffers harm at birth, it is often due to the negligence of the doctor that cared for the mother during her pregnancy or the doctor that delivered the child. Thus, if it can be established that the doctors failed to provide appropriate care, the child and his or her parents may be awarded damages. If a defendant ob-gyn establishes that the care he or she provided was adequate, though, the plaintiff’s case may be dismissed. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the shifting burdens of proof in medical malpractice cases and what the plaintiff must prove to avoid dismissal via summary judgment. If you or your child suffered harm due to the negligence of your ob-gyn doctor, it is wise to consult a capable Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding what you must prove to recover compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against two groups of defendants on behalf of her infant son. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the negligent care of the collective defendants caused the minor plaintiff to suffer injuries due to a premature birth. The parties conducted discovery, after which each group of defendants moved for summary judgment. The court granted the defendants’ motions, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Avoiding Dismissal of an Ob-Gyn Malpractice Claim

It is well established that a plaintiff seeking to recover damages in an ob-gyn malpractice case must show that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care and that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, if a defendant sets forth prima facie evidence that he or she did not depart from the standard of care, or that any such departure did not cause the plaintiff’s harm, the burden will shift to the plaintiff to show a material issue of fact exists as to whether the defendant was negligent.

If the defendant does not make a prima facie showing, however, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be dismissed, regardless of the strength of the plaintiff’s response to the motion. In the subject case, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims as to the first group of defendants. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert affidavit was not supported by facts of record and, therefore, was insufficient to raise a material issue of fact. As to the second group of defendants, however, the court found that they failed to establish that they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rather, the court found that the second group of defendants’ expert affidavit only set forth conclusory allegations regarding the defendants’ liability. Thus, the court found that the second group of defendants’ motion for summary judgment should have been denied, and reversed the trial court order.

Speak with a Skillful Medical Malpractice Attorney

Doctors have a duty to provide competent care, and if they fail to uphold their duty, they should be held accountable for any damages they cause. If you suffered harm due to an improperly performed medical procedure, it is in your best interest to speak with a skillful Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding what compensation you may be able to recover. The attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping injured parties seek recourse for their harm. You can reach us at 315-479-9000 or through our online form to schedule a confidential and free meeting.

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