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New York Court Reverses Summary Judgment in a Primary Care Malpractice Case

In medical malpractice cases, defendants will often try to avoid the costs associated with protracted litigation by seeking dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims prior to trial via motions for summary judgment. If the court finds that a defendant has adequately demonstrated the right to judgment in its favor as a matter of law, the court will grant the motion. If a court rules improperly, however,  a plaintiff can argue that the ruling should be reversed. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed when summary judgment is appropriate in a case arising out of primary care malpractice. If you sustained injuries due to incompetent medical care, you should speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse primary care malpractice attorney to evaluate your options for seeking compensation.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant, who was the plaintiff’s primary care physician, failed to diagnose the plaintiff’s ulcerative colitis in a timely manner. Due to the delay, he suffered a perforated colon which required a permanent ileostomy. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, asserting his negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm.  The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff failed to establish the elements of his claim. The court found in favor of the defendant and granted the motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Determining Whether Summary Judgment is Appropriate in a Medical Malpractice Case

The appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. It noted that a defendant that files a motion for summary judgment in medical malpractice case bears the burden of demonstrating that he or she did not depart from the accepted and good practice of medicine and that any such alleged deviation did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm. In order to sustain this burden, the defendant must rebut any allegations set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of particulars.

If the defendant meets its burden, the plaintiff’s claim will be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that a triable issue of fact exists as to those elements which the defendant met its burden of proof. The appellate court explained that summary judgment is not appropriate in cases in which the parties produce conflicting expert reports, as they raise credibility issues that generally must be resolved by the finder of fact. Here the appellate court noted that the defendant met its burden of proof. In response, however, the plaintiff produced an expert report demonstrating a material fact was in dispute. As such, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Lawyer

When a primary care physician does not provide a patient with a prompt diagnosis, it can lead to painful injuries that require surgical repair. If you sustained harm due to family care malpractice, you could be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The trusted Syracuse attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at demonstrating that negligent healthcare providers should be held accountable for the losses they cause, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

 

 

 

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