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New York Court Discusses Jurisdiction Over Out of State Defendants in Malpractice Cases

Generally, a plaintiff has the right to decide where to pursue his or her medical malpractice claim. There are limitations, however, in that a court cannot render rulings in a case in which it has no jurisdiction over an entity or person who is named as a defendant. In a recent hospital malpractice case arising out of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the court explained when the exercise of jurisdiction over an out of state defendant is valid. If you or a family member were rendered insufficient care in a hospital and suffered harm as a result it is critical to meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation for your harm.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent received treatment at the defendant hospital, which was located in Pennsylvania, where he was cared for by several physicians. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death case against the defendant hospital and numerous individually named physicians, all of whom practiced solely in Pennsylvania. The defendants collectively filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

Exercising Jurisdiction Over Out of State Defendants

On appeal, the court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the defendant hospital consented to jurisdiction by registering as a foreign corporation in New York, or that the named defendants consented to jurisdiction by obtaining licenses to practice medicine in New York. Additionally, the court was not persuaded by the plaintiff’s argument that the defendants waived the right to object with regards to personal jurisdiction, due to the fact that the parent company of the defendant hospital accepted service on behalf of the defendants. The court explained that the acceptance of service, standing alone, did not constitute a waiver or an objection to personal jurisdiction.

The court agreed with the plaintiff, however, with regards to the fact that the trial court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment as to the defendant hospital, before allowing jurisdictional discovery.  Specifically, the court noted that the record was unclear as to whether the defendant hospital’s activities within the state were sufficiently systematic and continuous to render it a home state for purposes of jurisdiction. The court noted that the defendant hospital advertised in New York and had a relationship with New York providers. Additionally, the defendant hospital derived revenue from New York residents. Thus, the court ruled that jurisdictional discovery was warranted as to the defendant hospital and reversed the trial court’s ruling with regards to the summary judgment against the defendant hospital.

Speak with an Assertive Attorney About Your Case

Even if a person has strong evidence in his or her favor in a hospital malpractice case, he or she will not be able to recover damages if the case is not filed in the proper jurisdiction. If you were harmed due to hospital malpractice it is vital to speak with an assertive Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney about your case and the best method to proceed to seek damages. The assertive attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to help you seek the best outcome achievable under the facts of your case. We can be reached through our online form or at 833-200-2000 to schedule a confidential and complimentary conference regarding your case.


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