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New York Appellate Court Says Medical Malpractice Case Should Not Have Been Dismissed, Despite Failure to Depose Doctor According to Discovery Schedule

Filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex endeavor that requires strict compliance to a great many procedural rules. While there may be limited instances in which compliance with a particular requirement may be excused under the circumstances of a given case, this is by far the exception rather than the rule. The burden is usually on the plaintiff not only to prove his or her case but also to convince the court that an exception should be made if a deadline was missed or another procedural rule was not complied with.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the administratrix of the estate of a woman who allegedly died due to the negligence of the defendant hospital. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, and the trial court entered an order setting forth the discovery obligations of the parties. Although a particular doctor’s deposition was supposed to have taken place by a certain date, this apparently did not happen. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules 3126(3). The Supreme Court for New York County entered an order granting the defendant’s motion and dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. The plaintiff sought review from the intermediate appellate court of New York.

Decision of the Court

The New York Appellate Division, First Department, reversed the lower court’s decision. According to the court, the defendant had failed to show that the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the discovery obligations of the court was willful, contumacious, or in bad faith. Therefore, the appeals court determined that the lower tribunal had improvidently exercised its discretion in dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint.

In so holding, the court noted that the plaintiff’s attorney had been injured in a motor vehicle accident about two weeks prior to the date that the doctor’s deposition was supposed to have occurred. According to the court, this was a reasonable excuse for the plaintiff’s failure to proceed with the deposition within the time originally set forth. The court also noted that the defendant had not sought to compel the deposition but, rather, had simply moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers are supposed to help patients get better, not cause them undue harm. If you or a loved one has been hurt because of the negligence of a medical professional or treatment facility, you may be entitled to substantial money damages to compensate you for what you and your family has been through. However, the burden is on you, as the injured party, to file a timely claim and provide legally admissible, competent, and convincing evidence as to the manner in which the defendant healthcare provider breached the applicable standard of care. This is not an easy task, but the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, are here to help. Call us at 315-479-9000 to find out more about how to get started on your claim today.

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