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New York Court Discusses General Negligence in the Context of Medical Care

The struggle to have children can be heartbreaking. Thankfully, many people dealing with infertility can get help conceiving via advanced reproductive technology like IVF. If an IVF procedure is not performed properly, it may impact a party’s ability to grow their family. As discussed in a recent New York case, however, errors made during the IVF process most likely do not constitute general negligence. Instead, they usually give rise to medical malpractice claims. If you suffered losses due to mistakes made by a fertility specialist, it is wise to confer with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment at the defendant’s fertility center, successfully giving birth to her first child. However, her subsequent IVF treatment to conceive a second child genetically related to her first child was unsuccessful. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging several causes of action, including violations of General Business Law, ordinary negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and others. The court dismissed most of her claims, leading to the plaintiff’s appeal.

General Negligence in the Context of Medical Care

On appeal, the court reviewed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims, affirming and reversing in part. The court determined that the plaintiff’s cause of action for a violation of General Business Law § 349 should not have been dismissed, citing the plaintiff’s allegations of materially deceptive advertising about the IVF success rates as consumer-oriented conduct targeted by the statute.

However, the court upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff’s cause of action for ordinary negligence, concluding it was essentially a medical malpractice claim based on the defendant’s handling of the IVF treatment. The court also upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff’s cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, stating that the allegations mirrored those of the medical malpractice claim and lacked sufficient extremity or outrageousness. Additionally, this claim was deemed time-barred, accruing on the publication date of a research paper allegedly notifying the plaintiff of the defendants’ experimentation, not when she later read an unrelated email.

Lastly, the court found the plaintiff failed to plead a sufficient basis for punitive damages, as the allegations did not demonstrate malicious conduct or a conscious disregard of others’ interests necessary for such an award. The appellate court considered and rejected the remaining arguments from both parties, affirming the lower court’s rulings with the exception of the General Business Law claim.

Speak with a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

IVF helps many people who would otherwise be unable to have children to grow their families, but errors and oversights during the IVF process can cause lasting harm. If you were injured due to medical malpractice while trying to conceive, you may be owed damages, and you should speak to an attorney about your potential causes of action. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys are adept at helping victims of medical errors seek justice, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to arrange a conference.

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