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New York Court Examines Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

A plaintiff that wishes to pursue medical malpractice claims generally has the right to determine where to file their case. There are limitations to this general right, however. Specifically, the court must have the authority to exercise jurisdiction over a medical malpractice case, and if it does not, the case must be dismissed. This was illustrated recently when a New York federal district court dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice case due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. If you were hurt by the negligence of your healthcare provider, it is wise to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to determine if you may be able to pursue a claim for damages.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the emergency room of the defendant’s medical center with pain in his ribs and lacerations on his head. The physicians at the defendant’s medical center took x-rays of the plaintiff’s chest, gave him stitches, and discharged him. Three days later, he visited the emergency department of another hospital with ongoing complaints of chest pain; the doctors at the second hospital diagnosed the plaintiff with three rib fractures.

It is reported that the plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in federal court, arguing that it was liable for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose his fractures. He then moved to proceed in forma pauperis.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Filed in Federal Court

Federal courts have limited jurisdiction; specifically, pursuant to federal statutes, they can only exercise jurisdiction over cases that present a federal question or involve a dispute between citizens of different states and an amount in controversy that exceeds $75,000. Any party or the court itself may challenge the court’s subject matter jurisdiction at any point during proceedings.

If a court subsequently determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a case, it must dismiss it. In the subject case, the plaintiff did not invoke a federal question. In other words, none of his claims arose under federal law; instead, he solely asserted state law claims. Additionally, the plaintiff failed to set forth facts that would allow the court to exercise diversity jurisdiction over his claims. Conversely, his claims suggest that both he and the defendant were citizens of New York. Based on the foregoing, the court found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case and dismissed it without prejudice.

Meet with a Dedicated Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

A doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient can cause critical harm, and in many instances, it constitutes medical malpractice. If you were injured by your doctor’s oversights or omissions, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer to determine whether you may be able to recover damages for your harm. The dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient and handling claims against negligent healthcare providers, and if you hire us, we can assess the facts of your case and advise you of your options for seeking a just outcome.  You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.

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