Federal Court in Maryland Declines to Hear Medical Negligence Claims

People housed in federal facilities unfortunately often suffer a variety of injuries, including losses caused by incompetent medical care. Thus, if they proceed to pursue claims against the parties responsible for their harm, their lawsuit may include not only claims but also other causes of action. If a plaintiff’s complaint sets forth causes of action arising out of both state and federal law, they will most likely file it in federal courts. While the federal courts can resolve medical malpractice claims arising out of state law if they accompany federal question claims, if the court subsequently dismisses the plaintiff’s federal claims, it will most likely decline to hear their state claims as well. This was illustrated in an opinion recently set forth by a Maryland court, in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims for procedural reasons rather than their lack of merit. If you were injured by incompetently rendered health care in a facility operated by the federal government, you have the right to seek compensation, and it is advisable to confer with a skilled Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff was living in a federal facility located in Maryland. While there, the defendant, a staff member of the facility, forged the plaintiff’s signature on a blood draw waiver, which resulted in the cancellation of his blood draw. He asserted he suffered mental distress as a result and subsequently filed numerous state and federal claims, including medical negligence, against the defendant and other staff members in the federal district court. The defendants moved to dismiss his claims. The court granted the motion as to the federal claims then addressed his medical negligence claims.

Federal Court’s Supplemental Jurisdiction Over Medical Malpractice Claims

The court held that to the extent that the plaintiff’s complaint set forth claims that the defendant engaged in medical negligence, it would not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over them. The court explained that pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal district court has the authority to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims if the court has already dismissed all of the claims over which it had original jurisdiction.

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical negligence claims without prejudice. In doing so, the court advised the plaintiff that under Maryland law, to pursue medical malpractice claims in state court, the plaintiff must abide by the terms of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act. Under the Act, a plaintiff must file a medical negligence claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office prior to filing a civil medical malpractice lawsuit if their claim for damages surpasses the jurisdictional amount for the Maryland district courts. The court did not comment on the merits of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim.

Meet with a Dedicated Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Patients who receive medical treatment from federally funded facilities generally believe the care will be competent, but unfortunately, in many instances, it falls below the standard of care. If you suffered harm due to medical negligence, you may be owed damages, and you should meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The dedicated Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and assist you in seeking the best legal outcome possible in consideration of the facts of your case. You can contact us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.


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