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New York Court Discusses Diversity Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Cases

People who suffer injuries generally have the right to pursue claims against the parties responsible for their harm, with or without the assistance of attorneys. Some claims, like those arising out of medical malpractice, are complex, however, and parties that attempt to seek compensation for medical negligence without legal counsel may not be able to set forth pleadings sufficient to demonstrate they are entitled to damages. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a New York Court in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s anesthesia malpractice claims due to lack of jurisdiction. If you suffered harm due to negligently administered anesthesia, it is smart to retain a skilled Syracuse anesthesia malpractice lawyer to assist you in pursuing claims against the parties that caused your injuries.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered an injury to his right hand that required a surgical repair. He was admitted to the defendant hospital, which is located in New York, to undergo the procedure, but alleged that he was not provided anesthesia. As such, he suffered intense pain. He further asserted he developed depression and a sleep disorder after the surgery. He filed a complaint against the defendant in federal court, asserting a medical negligence claim. He was not represented by a lawyer when he filed the complaint. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. The court agreed and dismissed the complaint.

Diversity Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Cases Filed in Federal Court

The court explained that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim against the defendant failed because the court lacked jurisdiction over the claim as it arose under state law. In New York, a claim sounds in medical malpractice when the conduct in question constitutes medical treatment or bears a significant relationship to the rendering of medical care by a licensed professional. In the subject case, the plaintiff’s claims related to treatment he was provided at the defendant hospital, and therefore, were considered claims for medical malpractice.

The court stated that medical malpractice claims arise under state law, and federal courts generally will not exercise original jurisdiction over such matters unless there is complete diversity between the parties. No plaintiff and no defendant can be citizens of the same state for complete diversity to be present. In the subject case, the court pointed out that the plaintiff and the defendant hospital were both citizens of New York. Thus, complete diversity did not exist, and the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Speak to a Seasoned Syracuse Lawyer

Doctors often employ anesthesia to prevent patients from experiencing pain during surgical procedures, but when it is not properly administered, patients can suffer significantly. If you were harmed by anesthesia malpractice, you should speak to an attorney regarding what damages you may be owed. The seasoned Syracuse attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the full amount of compensation recoverable under the law. We can be contacted through our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.



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