Maryland Court Discusses Jurisdiction In Medical Malpractice Matters

Pursuant to state and federal law, parties are permitted to pursue civil lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, without the assistance of an attorney. Medical malpractice cases are challenging, however, and parties that file them without legal counsel are likely to make mistakes that impact their right to recover damages. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland opinion delivered by the district court, in which it dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims because of a lack of jurisdiction. If you were hurt by the negligence of your doctor, it is in your best interest to retain the assistance of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney to help you pursue damages.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against hospital employees in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff’s complaint asserted that jurisdiction was proper because the defendants forced him to do things against his will. To his complaint, he attached a document that indicated he was discharged from a psychiatric program due to his failure to comply with the program rules and an order from a judge that committed him involuntarily to the hospital where the defendants worked. The plaintiff also moved to proceed in forma pauperis. The court granted the motion but also dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint.

Jurisdiction In Medical Malpractice Matters

In the opinion dismissing the complaint, the court explained that federal courts have limited jurisdiction. As such, a federal district court may only preside over a case if it possesses the authority granted by the Constitution and statutory law to do so. Thus, if a party wishes to proceed in federal court, they must allege and, if challenged, must show that the federal court can exercise subject matter jurisdiction over the case.

The court clarified that if Congress has not granted the federal courts the power to hear a matter, it must dismiss the case. In other words, federal courts will presume that cases lie outside of their jurisdiction until and unless the party pursuing the claim shows jurisdiction is proper. Further, even if no party challenges the court’s jurisdiction, it must independently analyze whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over a case.

In the subject case, the court found that federal question jurisdiction did not exist, as the plaintiff’s complaint asserted negligence and medical malpractice claims arising under state law. Further, as the parties were all residents of Maryland, diversity jurisdiction was absent as well. Therefore, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice.

Confer with a Skilled Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

People harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek damages in civil lawsuits, but if they do not follow the proper procedure when pursuing their claims, they may waive their right to recover compensation. If you sustained injuries due to a careless physician, it is wise to once with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at helping the victims of medical negligence obtain justice, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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