Published on:

New York Court Discusses Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Cases

It is well-established that people harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible for their injuries. While it is not required for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case to be represented by an attorney, it is prudent, as most people outside of the legal arena do not understand the requirements imposed by procedural rules and are likely to make mistakes that can adversely impact their claims. This was illustrated in a recent ruling in which a New York court dismissed a plaintiff’s claims seeking damages for medical malpractice due to lack of jurisdiction over the matter. If you were hurt by negligent medical care, you could be owed damages, and you should engage the services of a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to aid you in pursuing your claims.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state, asserting numerous claims, including medical malpractice. She filed the complaint without the assistance of an attorney. The precise nature of the medical treatment she received and the harm that arose from such care was not disclosed in the court’s opinion. She moved to proceed in forma pauperis; as such, the court conducted its two-part analysis, first determining if she qualified for in forma pauperis status and then screening her complaint to evaluate if it was within the court’s jurisdiction.

It is alleged that while the court granted her motion to proceed in forma pauperis, it found that the complaint did not provide grounds for federal jurisdiction. It provided the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint, which she did. The court determined her amended complaint to be devoid of grounds for jurisdiction as well and subsequently dismissed her claims.

Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Cases

In assessing a complaint, a court accepts any factual allegation as true and draws every inference in the plaintiff’s favor. While specific factual assertions are not necessary, a complaint must provide a defendant with fair notice of the claims against it and the basis upon which such claims rest. Courts are obligated to read pro se complaints liberally, but such pleadings must nonetheless meet the requirements set forth under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The court explained that the federal courts are of limited subject matter jurisdiction. In other words, they only possess power authorized by statute and the Constitution. Thus, federal subject matter only exists when a federal question is presented, or the plaintiffs and defendants are all of diverse citizenship, and the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount. As the plaintiff in the subject case merely asserted state law claims against the state, the court could not exercise jurisdiction over the case and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Speak to an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People harmed by medical malpractice are often owed compensation, but they must pursue their claims in the proper jurisdiction; otherwise, they may unintentionally waive their right to recover damages. If you were harmed by the negligence of a physician, it is smart to speak to an attorney about your potential claims. The experienced attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have the knowledge and resources needed to achieve favorable outcomes in malpractice cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact us via our online form or at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

Justia Lawyer Rating
Contact Information