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New Your Court Explains Grounds for Reversing an Order Granting Summary Judgment

In a high percentage of New York medical malpractice cases, the defendants file motions for summary judgment, asking the courts to find in their favor as a matter of law. Summary judgment is not appropriate in every case, though. Instead, it is limited to those matters in which no material factual disputes remain. If a court grants a defendant’s motion for summary judgment without just cause, the plaintiff can seek review via an appeal. In a recent ruling set forth in a medical malpractice case, a New York court discussed when reversal of an order granting a motion for summary judgment is proper. If you sustained losses due to the carelessness of your doctor, it is in your best interest to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Procedural History of the Case

Few facts were provided regarding the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. It is alleged, however, that the plaintiff’s decedent sought care from the defendant cardiologist. Following his treatment, he suffered fatal complications. The plaintiff, the administrator of the decedent’s estate, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. After the parties completed discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Reversing an Order Granting Summary Judgment

Under New York law, a defendant seeking summary judgment in a medical malpractice lawsuit must show, prima facie, it did not depart from the accepted and good practice of medicine, or that any alleged departure did not result in the plaintiff’s harm. If the defendant meets this burden, it then shifts to the plaintiff, who must produce evidence sufficient to show that there is a material issue of fact in dispute, as to the elements for which the defendant has met its burden of proof.

Typically, defendants and plaintiffs in cases sounding in medical malpractice will rely on expert testimony to support their respective positions. Thus, if the parties produce reports that conflict on the issues of whether the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care, and whether such deviation proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm, the matter cannot be resolved on summary judgment. Here, the court noted that the opposing expert affidavits presented by the parties created triable issues of fact. As such,  the appellate court reversed the order granting summary judgment and reinstated the plaintiff’s claims.

Consult a Capable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Doctors receive years of education and undergo extensive training to garner the skills needed to provide their patients with competent care. Regardless, some physicians deviate from their training and make careless mistakes that cause their patients to suffer irreparable harm. If you were injured by a negligent doctor, you may be owed compensation for your losses, and you should consult an attorney to discuss your potential medical malpractice case. The capable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and gather the evidence needed to provide you a good chance of achieving a favorable outcome. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.







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