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New York Court Discusses Corporate Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

In the context of medical malpractice claims, injured patients may not only seek compensation from the doctors and other health care providers that caused their harm but also from the hospitals or healthcare systems that employ them. As discussed in a recent New York opinion set forth in a medical malpractice case, however, corporate officers and directors of such facilities will not be deemed personally liable for the negligence of facility employees simply due to their positions. If you sustained injuries due to a careless physician, it is in your best interest to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about what claims you may be able to pursue.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered harm following a surgical procedure at a hospital. The nature of her underlying condition and subsequent injuries were not disclosed. Regardless, she subsequently instituted a medical malpractice action in which she named the hospital where she received the allegedly negligent care that caused her harm, the doctors that provided her care, and the Chief Operating Officer of the hospital as defendants.

Allegedly, the plaintiff alleged the Chief Operating Officer was liable under a theory of respondeat superior. The Chief Operating Officer moved for the dismissal of the claims against him. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Liability of Hospital Directors and Officers

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that the plaintiff asserted cognizable claims against the two doctors that participated in her surgery but not against the Chief Operating Officer. Specifically, the complaint did not set forth any allegations that the Chief Operating Officer rendered treatment to the plaintiff or that demonstrated the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. As such, she failed to set forth a valid medical malpractice claim against him.

Further, the court explained that the trial court properly dismissed the plaintiff’s respondeat superior claim against the Chief Operating Officer, as it was not a viable claim. The court elaborated that, under New York law, officers and directors of corporations cannot be held personally liable for the torts of employees of the corporation merely because the officers and directors hold corporate office. As the complaint neglected to allege any negligent acts by the Chief Corporate Officer in connection with the plaintiff’s care that would permit the imposition of vicarious liability against him for the behavior of other doctors, the court found the trial court properly dismissed the claims against him.

Meet with an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People harmed by medical malpractice can often recover damages from multiple sources, including the employers of the physicians that caused their injuries. If you were hurt by negligently rendered care, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss your options as soon as possible. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can inform you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can reach us by calling 833-200-2000 or by using our form online to set up a meeting.

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