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New York Court Discusses Sufficiency of Defense Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

In all medical malpractice cases filed in New York, the burden of proof is transferred from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must delineate the alleged malpractice committed by the defendant via a bill of particulars. In turn, if the defendant wishes to have the case dismissed, he or she must refute each allegation in the bill of particulars with an expert report. In a recent case before a New York appellate court, the court explained what constitutes an expert report sufficient to obtain a dismissal in a hospital malpractice case. If you suffered damages during or after your admission to a hospital due to incompetent medical care, it is prudent to speak with a reliable Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

It is reported that the decedent underwent a procedure at the defendant hospital during which a stent was placed in his esophagus. The following day, he was discharged and directed to follow-up with his primary care physician if he suffered certain symptoms. The decedent died five days later. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and physician who performed the procedure, in which she alleged negligence during the procedure and in the post-discharge care of the decedent. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted with exception to the claims regarding post-discharge care. The defendants appealed.

Sufficiency of Defense Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, a defendant seeking dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment must establish either that he or she did not deviate from the standard of care or that any deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm. In order to sustain this burden, the defendant must rebut and address each specific allegation of malpractice that is set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars.

Further, in assessing whether to grant a defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court will view the evidence in a light that is most favorable to the plaintiff. A plaintiff seeking to defeat a defendant’s motion for summary judgment only needs to demonstrate that a triable issue of fact exists on the elements of the plaintiff’s claim to which the defendant proved it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

In the subject case, the defendant’s expert affidavit did not set forth any arguments addressing the allegations in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars that the defendants’ negligent post-discharge care caused the decedent’s harm. As the defendants failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to summary judgment as to those allegations, the appellate court ruled that the trial court properly denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to those claims, regardless of the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s expert affidavit.

Consult a Proficient Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured due to inadequate care during or after a hospitalization, it is advisable to consult a proficient Syracuse hospital malpractice attorney regarding your potential recovery of compensation. The trusted malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work diligently to craft compelling arguments in favor of your recovery of damages. You can reach us through our online form or at 315-479-9000 to schedule a meeting.

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