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New York Court Discusses Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

In many instances, parties that suffer harm due to medical negligence will sustain other damages as well, such as losses caused by violations of their civil rights. Thus, they will often choose to pursue claims for damages in federal court. While federal courts can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims in certain circumstances, if the basis for such jurisdiction is removed, the courts will typically decline to exercise jurisdiction over such claims. This was demonstrated in a ruling recently issued in a New York case in a matter arising out of physical therapy malpractice. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of a physical therapist, it is smart to speak to a skillful Syracuse physical therapy malpractice lawyer regarding your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff, who is a paraplegic, underwent a physical therapy session with the defendant. During the session, the defendant placed a hot pack on the plaintiff’s lower back and advised him to leave it there. The plaintiff subsequently suffered second-degree burns, which he alleged caused emotional trauma and mental distress in addition to physical pain. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting medical malpractice claims as well as claims arising under federal law. The defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed in their entirety. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Supplemental Jurisdiction Over State Law Claims Filed in Federal Court

The court concluded that the plaintiff failed to assert viable federal claims. Thus, it dismissed the counts in his complaint that arose under federal law. The court also declined to exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim, which arose under state law, unless the plaintiff was able to amend his complaint to assert a viable federal claim.

The court explained that district courts have the discretion to hear state law claims in cases in which the relationship between the plaintiff’s state and federal claims shows there is but one constitutional case that arises out of a common nucleus of operative facts. Thus, when a federal court dismisses a plaintiff’s federal claims, the court may then decline to exercise jurisdiction over any remaining state claims. In deciding whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, a court must weigh and consider the values of convenience, fairness, judicial economy, and comity. In the subject case, the court found that the factors weighed in favor of declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. Thus, it dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Physical therapy typically helps patients, but when therapists negligently perform their duties, they can cause more harm than good. If you suffered damages due to the incompetence of a physical therapist, you might be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted physical therapy malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed by medical negligence fight to protect their interests, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.




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