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New York Court Discusses Timeliness of Medical Malpractice Actions

Pursuant to New York law, people injured by negligent medical care have the right to pursue medical malpractice claims against the providers responsible for their harm. They must act promptly, though, as if they fail to pursue their claims within the statute of limitations, they may be dismissed, as demonstrated in a recent New York case. If you were injured by an incompetent doctor, it is wise to consult a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.

Procedural and Factual Setting

It is alleged that the plaintiff initiated an action against the defendant doctor and another defendant, alleging medical malpractice related to the diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer from June 2014 to October 2017. This case was consolidated with another action involving different defendants. In April 2021, the defendant doctor moved to dismiss the complaint against him, citing untimeliness and lack of personal jurisdiction.

Reportedly, the defendant doctor presented evidence demonstrating that he had only treated the plaintiff once on June 22, 2017, and had not been served with the summons and complaint. The plaintiff opposed the motion, relying solely on uncertified medical records to argue that the complaint against the defendant doctor was timely and cross-moved for an extension of time to serve him with the summons and complaint. The trial court denied the defendant doctor’s motion and granted the plaintiff’s cross-motion. The defendant doctor appealed.

Timeliness of Medical Malpractice Complaints

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s order and ruled in favor of the defendant doctor. It noted that when a defendant seeks dismissal based on the statute of limitations, they must demonstrate prima facie that the time to commence the action has expired. Here, the defendant doctor had fulfilled this burden by showing that the statute of limitations had lapsed. In response, the plaintiff failed to provide competent evidence to raise a question of fact regarding the application of an exception to the statute of limitations. As a result, the court found that the plaintiff did not meet the burden of establishing that she commenced her claims against the defendant doctor in a timely manner. Therefore, the court found that the trial court should have granted the defendant doctor’s motion to dismiss the complaint against him.

Additionally, the court determined that the plaintiff’s cross-motion for an extension of time to serve the defendant doctor should have been denied since the action was not timely commenced against him. Without a valid commencement of the action, the court lacked the authority to extend the plaintiff’s time for service. Consequently, the court reversed the order, granted the defendant doctor’s motion to dismiss the complaint against him, and denied the plaintiff’s cross-motion for an extension of time.

Meet with a Skilled Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suffered injuries due to inadequate treatment from a medical professional, it is smart to meet with an attorney to evaluate your potential medical malpractice claims. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can inform you of your rights and aid you in seeking any compensation available. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to arrange a conference.

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