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New York Court Discusses Removal of Medical Malpractice Actions to Federal Court

Within the confines of the applicable rules, people harmed by medical malpractice have the right to choose where to pursue claims against the health care providers that caused their harm. In many instances, it is preferable for a plaintiff to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in federal court for a variety of reasons. In some cases, though, a defendant can remove the case to federal court, even if the plaintiff wants it to remain in state court. Defendants must prove certain criteria to show a removal to federal court is proper, however, and if they do not, their cases will be remanded back to state court. This was demonstrated in a recent surgical malpractice matter, in which the court ruled that the defendants failed to show the removal was proper. If you were hurt by an incompetent surgeon, you may be able to recover compensation, and it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice action against the defendant corporations and physicians, alleging medical malpractice and other claims arising out of harm suffered following a surgical procedure. The complaint was filed in State court and alleged that the defendants and plaintiffs were all residents of New York. The defendants then filed a notice of removal on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction.

Allegedly, the defendants argued, in part, that some of the defendants had been improperly joined in order to destroy diversity jurisdiction and that there was complete diversity between the parties that were properly joined. The plaintiff filed a motion, asserting that the case could not be removed when one of the defendants was a resident of the forum state.

Removal of Medical Malpractice Cases to Federal Court

The court stated that when a party removes an action from state court to federal court, and the plaintiff moves to remand the matter on the basis of lack of diversity, the removing party bears the burden of proving the right to a federal forum by competent proof. The court explained that the Supreme Court has interpreted the removal statute to mean that federal diversity jurisdiction is only proper if there is complete diversity of citizenship, which means that no plaintiff and no defendant are citizens of the same state.

In other words, diversity jurisdiction is only properly invoked if the amount in controversy is met and there is complete diversity. In the subject case, the court found that there was no diversity, as both plaintiffs and four of the defendants were New York citizens. Thus, the case was remanded to state court.

Speak with an Experienced Syracuse Attorney

When surgeons fail to exercise reasonable care when they are performing procedures, it often results in significant injuries. If you suffered damages because of a surgeon’s incompetence, you should speak to a lawyer to determine your possible surgical malpractice claims. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are proficient at fighting to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable, and if you hire us, we will diligently pursue any damages you may be owed. You can contact us via our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.

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