Court Discusses Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. In other words, they can only hear cases that set forth federal questions or set forth claims that meet the minimum amount of controversy and arise between diverse citizens. As such, medical malpractice claims typically do not fall within the purview of the federal courts. While federal courts often do not have original jurisdiction over Maryland medical malpractice claims, they can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over them if they are filed in cases that also assert federal questions. If the federal question claims are dismissed, it is likely that the medical malpractice claims will be dismissed without prejudice as well, as discussed in a recent Maryland case. If you were hurt by a doctor’s negligent care, it is in your best interest to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to determine what measures you must take to protect your interests.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was confined to a federal facility. While there, he made numerous requests for treatment of chronic back and nerve pain, but his requests were denied. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the doctor and nurse in charge of his medical care in the facility, stating, among other things, that their negligent failure to provide him with necessary medical care caused him harm. He asserted federal claims against the defendants as well. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims should be dismissed because he failed to comply with the requirements imposed by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (the Act).

Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s federal claims, which were the basis for the court’s jurisdiction over the matter. As such, the court found that it was not necessary to analyze the defendants’ remaining arguments. Instead, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s state law medical malpractice claims without prejudice.

In doing so, the court explained that when federal question claims are dismissed at an early juncture of a case, the federal courts have an inclination to dismiss any remaining state law claims without prejudice instead of retaining supplemental jurisdiction over the matter. Thus, while the court was within its rights to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s remaining medical malpractice claims, it declined not to do so. As the claims were dismissed without prejudice, however, the plaintiff was presumably free to pursue such claims in state court.

Discuss Your Harm with a Skilled Maryland Attorney

People harmed by inadequate medical care must not only prove their treatment provider’s negligence in order to recover damages in a medical malpractice case, but they must also comply with any applicable procedural requirements. If you sustained losses due to the carelessness of a physician, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your harm and potential claims. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to establish the liability of negligent care providers, and if we represent you, we will advocate assertively on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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