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New York Court Discusses Reviewing Pro Se Medical Malpractice Complaints

Medical malpractice cases are complicated, and most people harmed by medical incompetence who wish to pursue claims against their healthcare providers would benefit from the assistance of a skilled attorney. Regardless, for various reasons, some people choose to proceed pro se. Doing so frequently results in the dismissal of their claims. Recently, a New York court discussed the liberal interpretation standards applied to pro se complaints in a case where it ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims. If you intend to pursue claims against your treatment providers, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the plaintiff, without the assistance of an attorney, initiated legal action against the defendant doctors, medical centers, and other entities. The complaint set forth medical malpractice and civil rights violations related to surgeries the plaintiff received in 2008 and 2020. After granting the plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis, the court dismissed most of his claims but allowed him to amend his claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).

It is reported that the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, adding additional defendants and allegations. The court dismissed various claims with prejudice, including those related to negligence, medical malpractice, Section 1983 claims, and Privacy Act claims, among others. The plaintiff was given leave to amend his RICO claims but ultimately did not assert any in the amended complaint. Instead, he included new claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA“), alleging negligence and wrongful acts by federal government employees. The court then reviewed the complaint for sufficiency.

Reviewing Pro Se Medical Malpractice Complaints

The court began by explaining the legal standards applicable to pro se litigants, emphasizing the obligation to interpret their submissions liberally and to dismiss claims that are frivolous, fail to state a claim, or seek relief against immune defendants. Despite granting the plaintiff leave to amend his RICO claim, the court found his amended complaint did not present a plausible RICO claim and instead introduced new claims under the FTCA. The FTCA permits suits for damages against the United States for negligence or wrongful acts by federal employees. However, before filing an FTCA claim, a claimant must exhaust administrative remedies, which The plaintiff failed to demonstrate.

Additionally, the court found the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint regarding the federal defendants to be vague and lacking credibility. Consequently, the court dismissed the amended complaint as frivolous, lacking a basis in law or fact. Given the frivolous nature of the FTCA claim, the court dismissed it with prejudice, declining to grant the plaintiff further opportunity to amend.

Talk to an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People who seek help for medical concerns expect that they will receive competent care, but unfortunately, the treatment they receive does not always live up to their expectations. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of a physician you may have grounds for pursuing medical malpractice claims, and you should talk to an attorney. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can inform you of your rights and help you to seek the best outcome available under the circumstances. You can contact us at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to arrange a conference.

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