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New York Court Explains Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are typically complex and require the retention of multiple experts, extensive discovery, analysis of complicated issues, and understanding of statutes and procedural rules. As such, while some people may be tempted to pursue such claims without the assistance of an attorney, it is generally ill-advised, as they make commit errors that could result in the dismissal of their case. This was explained in a recent New York matter in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit due to his failure to pursue his claims in the proper manner. If you sustained damages due to negligent treatment from a health care provider, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your options for seeking damages.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendant doctors due to issues with his back. He ultimately underwent spinal surgery, which was performed by the defendants. He subsequently suffered unspecified complications. As such, he filed a pro se lawsuit against the defendants in federal court, asserting negligence per se and medical malpractice claims. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) on the grounds that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case. After a review of the pleadings, the court granted the defendants’ motion.

Jurisdiction over Medical Malpractice Claims

The court explained that while the plaintiff, as a pro se litigant, was entitled to special consideration and would be held to less stringent standards than parties represented by attorneys, his claims must nonetheless be dismissed. The court noted that pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, federal courts may exercise limited jurisdiction. Specifically, they can wield subject matter jurisdiction over claims that present federal questions, which are those in which a colorable claim arises under the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States.

Federal courts may also exercise jurisdiction over matters where there is complete diversity of citizenship between every plaintiff and each defendant, and there is a minimum amount of $75,000 in controversy. In the subject case, the court stated that the plaintiff could not invoke diversity jurisdiction over his state law negligence and malpractice claims because both he and the defendants were citizens of New York. Further, the plaintiff failed to assert a colorable claim under any federal law. As such, in the absence of any grounds for exercising jurisdiction over the matter, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Speak to a Trusted Syracuse Attorney

People harmed by careless medical providers are often owed damages, but if they fail to pursue their claims properly, they may waive the right to recover. If you sustained losses because of incompetent medical care, it is smart to speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your potential claims. The trusted medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and help you to seek the full amount of compensation available. You can contact us via our online form or by calling 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.


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