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Medical Malpractice Case Dismissed by New York Court, Despite Plaintiff’s Attempt to Provide Additional Experts’ Affidavits

In most types of civil lawsuits, including a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof. This means that plaintiff must investigate and litigate the case in such a manner as to provide proof of the duty of care that applied under the circumstances, the manner in which that duty was breached, the plaintiff’s physical injuries and other damages, and proximate causation.

In medical malpractice cases, this typically includes expert testimony from one or more qualified expert witnesses. It is not enough to merely offer an expert’s general opinion on the subject matter of the case; the expert must be willing to testify in great specificity as to the negligence of the doctor, hospital, or other medical professional and how it affected the plaintiff.

Unless the plaintiff has an expert who is willing to testify at trial as to matters such as the standard of care and causation, his or her case will fail. Thus, it is crucial that a would-be medical malpractice litigant contact an attorney who is experienced in medical negligence cases and who will be able to consult an appropriate expert witness to review the case.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case arising in the Supreme Court for Suffolk County sought to assert a complaint for medical malpractice against several defendants, including a physician’s assistant, the physician’s assistant’s employer, and a medical center emergency room where the plaintiff was treated for a laceration to his hand. According to the plaintiff, the defendants had committed medical malpractice during their treatment of his hand injury.

The physician’s assistant and his employer filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint as it pertained to them. The plaintiff opposed their motion, submitting an orthopedic surgeon’s affidavit in support of his opposition to the defendants’ motion. After the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, the plaintiff sought leave to renew his opposition to the defendants’ motion. The trial court denied his request, and he appealed.

The Decision of the Reviewing Court

The New York Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the lower court’s order. Noting that, by his motion for leave to renew his opposition to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff’s intention was to add a second affidavit of the same orthopedic surgeon who had provided the original affidavit, along with the affidavit of another physician’s assistant who had not previously offered an opinion in the case.

Because the plaintiff had failed to offer any reasonable justification for not including these affidavits in his original opposition to the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case on summary judgment, the reviewing court agreed with the trial court’s decision to deny relief to the plaintiff. According to the court, a motion for leave to renew was not a “second chance” that was to be used by parties who failed to exercise due diligence in their previous presentations to the court.

Do You Need to Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

As this case shows, it is very important that a person who seeks to assert a claim for emergency room or other medical malpractice be diligent in his or her efforts to persuade the court that he or she has suffered damages as a proximate result of a healthcare provider’s failure to abide by the standard of care. Defendants in such cases are quick to seek dismissal of a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit, so it is important that the plaintiff be represented by thorough and assertive legal counsel. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case, call the attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP at 315-479-9000.

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