Federal Court Discusses Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Claims

There are arguably benefits to pursuing claims in federal court; the process is more streamlined, cases generally move quicker, and parties must exchange disclosures, so they understand the issues early on. Only certain cases can proceed in federal court, though, and generally, those cases do not include medical malpractice claims. This was illuminated recently when a federal court dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, not due to lack of merit but because it lacked jurisdiction over his claims. If you were harmed by a careless physician, you have the right to seek redress, and you should meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss the best manner to proceed.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in federal court against the defendant, arguing that the doctors it employed failed to provide him with proper medical care or prescribe him with antibiotics, despite the fact that he was suffering from an infection. He also asserted that he was unjustly asked to leave the premises. In addition to filing his pro secomplaint, he filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The court ultimately decided to grant his in forma pauperis application but dismissed his claims without prejudice.

Medical Malpractice Claims Pursued in Federal Courts

The federal courts have limited subject matter jurisdiction, as set forth in the federal rules. In other words, pursuant to the applicable statutes, federal jurisdiction can only be exercised over matters that present federal questions or where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the parties are of diverse citizenship. In other words, no defendant and plaintiff can reside in the same jurisdiction.

Based on the foregoing, a party seeking damages in a federal court must, at a minimum, set forth facts and claims that bring the matter within the court’s jurisdiction. The failure to plead adequate facts is fatal to a claim and warrants dismissal.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to raise any federal questions. Further, the plaintiff and defendant were both citizens of the same state, so there was no diversity jurisdiction. Based on the foregoing, the court found that it could not exercise subject matter jurisdiction over the case. Thus, it dismissed the plaintiff’s claims without prejudice.

Talk to a Capable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Even if a person has a viable medical malpractice claim, they may not be able to recover compensation if they fail to abide by the applicable rules of procedure. If you were wounded by the carelessness of your treatment provider, it is advisable to talk to a lawyer about what claims you may be able to pursue. The capable Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law have the skills and experience needed to achieve good outcomes in medical malpractice cases, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you seek the results you deserve.  You can contact us by calling us at (410) 889-1850 or using our form online to set up a conference.

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