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New York Court Discusses Grounds for Precluding Evidence in a Nursing Malpractice Case

In nursing malpractice cases, like any other civil case, it is essential for both parties to comply with deadlines and to answer discovery requests in promptly, so that the case may be resolved in an equitable and efficient manner. Thus, if a party fails to abide by the statutory deadlines and obligations, it may waive the right to produce evidence at trial. Recently, the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court discussed what constitutes sufficient grounds to preclude  a party from introducing evidence in a nursing malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to inappropriate care rendered by a nurse, you should meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse nursing malpractice attorney regarding your harm and what compensation you may be owed.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was a resident at the defendant’s nursing and rehabilitation facility. During her stay, she suffered a pulmonary injury and a leg injury. She was subsequently transferred to a hospital, where she died. The plaintiff asserted a nursing malpractice claim against the defendant. During discovery, the plaintiff requested information regarding the nurses that worked at the defendant facility during the time the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted. The defendant refused to provide the information, and the plaintiff filed a motion to compel.

Allegedly, the defendant then provided the plaintiff with certain identifying information pursuant to a court order. The plaintiff subsequently moved to prohibit the defendant from producing any evidence at trial and to strike the defendant’s answer due to the defendant’s refusal to comply with discovery demands. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Precluding a Party’s Evidence Under New York Law

Under New York law, it is within the discretion of the court  whether to preclude evidence or strike a pleading due to the failure to comply with a court order to disclose information. The severe penalty of precluding evidence or striking a pleading pursuant to the New York Rules of Civil Procedure should not be imposed, however, absent a clear showing that the party in question willfully and contumaciously failed to comply with discovery requests.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant complied with the court order regarding discovery in a timely manner, and sufficiently explained that it had previously provided information regarding its employees. Thus, the court found that the plaintiffs did not produce clear evidence that the defendant willfully refused to disclose the requested information. As such, the court found that the trial court properly exercised its discretion in refusing to preclude the defendant from introducing evidence at trial or striking the defendant’s answer.

Speak with a Skillful Syracuse Malpractice Attorney

If you or someone you love sustained damages due to inadequate care rendered by a nurse, it is prudent to speak with a skillful Syracuse nursing malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to assert against the parties that caused your harm. The knowledgeable nursing malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work diligently to help you seek any damages you may be owed. You can reach us at 315-479-9000 or through the form online to set up a free and confidential meeting regarding your case.

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