Typically, medical malpractice cases arising out of incompetent medical care rendered in New York are filed in state court. Plaintiffs are not precluded from pursuing claims in federal court, but if they do so they must establish that jurisdiction is proper; otherwise, their claims may be dismissed. Recently, a New York court discussed federal diversity jurisdiction over medical malpractice cases in a matter in which the plaintiff asserted numerous claims against multiple defendants. If you suffered harm because of incompetent medical care, it is critical to retain a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assist you in pursuing any compensation you may be owed.
The Plaintiff’s Allegations
It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit asserting numerous claims against multiple parties, including a medical malpractice claim against the defendant hospital. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged the defendant hospital unjustly discharged him and unlawfully shared his confidential health records with third parties. The defendant hospital moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims on the grounds that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over them. After reviewing the pleadings, the court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims without prejudice.
Federal Diversity Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Cases
Pursuant to federal law, district courts have jurisdiction over civil claims if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, and the dispute is between citizens of different states. The courts strictly construe the law against finding jurisdiction. Further, the law requires that, in federal actions in which jurisdiction is premised on diversity, complete diversity of citizenship must exist when the plaintiff institutes the action.
The court explained that in cases in which the defendant challenges a plaintiff’s grounds for asserting there is diversity jurisdiction, the plaintiff has to provide that such jurisdiction exists by a preponderance of the evidence. Diversity jurisdiction is based on domicile, which, as the court explained, is different than a residence. Specifically, a party’s domicile is the place where he has his true fixed home and the principal location he returns to after an absence. A person can only have one domicile at a time.
In the subject case, the defendant hospital was located in New York and therefore was deemed a citizen of New York for purposes of jurisdiction. The plaintiff argued that while he had a house in New York, he was a resident of Pennsylvania, and therefore, there was complete jurisdiction. The court was not convinced by his assertions, noting that when he filed the complaint, he averred that he lived in New York. Thus, the court dismissed his claims.
Confer with an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney
Patients who suffer injuries due to negligent medical care have the right to seek compensation, but they must pursue their claims in the proper forum, otherwise, they may be dismissed. If you were hurt by a careless physician, you should confer with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options for seeking damages and help you to pursue the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can contact us through our online form or at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.