In the United States legal system, parties will typically pursue claims arising out of state law in state court. While federal courts will handle state law claims in some cases, they are courts of limited jurisdiction. Thus, they will often decline to exercise jurisdiction over certain matters, like medical malpractice claims. This was demonstrated recently in a Maryland case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit that she filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, you may be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to meet with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to assess your potential claims.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff sought treatment at the defendant hospital. The precise nature of the plaintiff’s ailment and subsequent care was not explained in the court’s opinion. Regardless, it is clear that she suffered harm, which she argued arose out of medical negligence. As such, she filed a medical malpractice complaint against the defendant in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. After reviewing the complaint, however, the court determined that it must be dismissed.
Federal Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims
The court explained that federal courts have limited jurisdiction. As such, they can only handle cases if they possess the power to do so, as granted by the Constitution or a statute. If a party decides to pursue a matter in federal court, then they must allege that the federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and if the court’s jurisdiction is challenged, must prove that it is valid.
If Congress has not granted the federal courts power to hear a matter, though, it must be dismissed. In other words, the federal courts generally presume that cases lie outside of their jurisdiction unless jurisdiction is proven to be proper. Even if no party challenges the court’s jurisdiction, the court has an independent duty to evaluate whether subject matter jurisdiction exists.
In the subject case, the court noted that it granted the plaintiff’s complaint liberal construction, as she was not represented by an attorney. Despite that fact, the conduct alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint did not amount to a federal claim. Rather, the complaint merely asserted a claim for medical malpractice. As the claim arose under Maryland law, it could be raised in state court but could not be heard by the federal court. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice.
Speak to a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice can cause significant injuries, and people harmed by the incompetence of doctors are often owed damages, but if they do not pursue their claims in the correct jurisdiction, they may waive their right to recover compensation. If you sustained injuries due to medical negligence, you should speak to an attorney to determine what claims you may be able to pursue. The trusted Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are adept at helping people harmed by careless doctors in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.