One of the first questions that must be dealt with in a Syracuse medical malpractice case is that of jurisdiction. This is usually a fairly straightforward issue, as the plaintiff and his or her physicians or other attendant medical personnel typically all reside within the state in which the allegedly negligent medical treatment took place.
This is not always so, however. In such instances, there may be a plausible argument for jurisdiction in multiple states, or in multiple courts within a single state. Sometimes, the question is whether to file suit in state or federal court. An established medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action if you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor or nurse’s mistake.
Facts of the Case
In a recent case, arising in the Supreme Court, Kings County, the plaintiff was a woman who was involved in a New Jersey automobile accident in 2013. As a result of the wreck, the plaintiff was treated by various medical providers and was prescribed a certain medication. According to the woman’s complaint against several healthcare providers and drug manufacturers, she developed a condition known as “Stevens Johnson syndrome” as a result of the medication that she took following the car crash. The plaintiff’s prescription was allegedly filled in New York, although at least some of her medical care took place in New Jersey. She filed suit in 2014, seeking to recover money damages on several different legal theories, including medical malpractice, strict product liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty.
Several motions were filed by the parties, including a motion by the plaintiff’s New Jersey medical providers seeking dismissal of the plaintiff’s case on jurisdictional grounds. The plaintiff opposed the medical providers’ motion, insisting that the trial court had jurisdiction over them under the New York long-arm statute codified at N.Y. CPLR 302(a)(1) because they had “supplied services” in the state of New York. The trial court rejected the plaintiff’s contention and granted the medical providers’ motion to dismiss the case against them for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff appealed.
The Court’s Decision on Appeal
The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, affirmed the lower court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s suit as to the medical provider defendants on jurisdictional grounds. In so holding, the reviewing court noted that the plaintiff’s medical treatment by these defendants took place in the state of New Jersey as a result of a New Jersey car crash. The only connections between the medical providers and the state of New York were that the plaintiff was discharged to her home in New York and filled her prescriptions in New York.
In the reviewing court’s opinion, this conduct did not constitute “transacting business” in the state of New York and thus did not meet the “minimum contacts” threshold that must be present in order for a forum state to exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants such as the medical provider defendants herein. Insomuch as these defendants’ contacts were merely with a resident of New York (the plaintiff) and not with the state of New York, it was appropriate for the lower court to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint against the defendants.
To Seek Legal Advice About a Medical Negligence Case
If you believe that you may have a claim against a New York medical provider, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Even though we are living in unprecedented times, there are still deadlines for filing claims based on other’s negligence and professional malpractice. To schedule a telephone, video, or in-personal consultation with a member of our experienced Syracuse medical malpractice legal team, call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP today at 315-479-9000.