Maryland Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Claims in Federal Courts

Many medical facilities throughout Maryland are operated or funded by the federal government. As such, if a patient suffers harm due to incompetent care received in a federal facility, they may be able to assert claims for damages caused by the negligent health care provider pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. While claims against federal facilities and their employees generally must be brought in federal court, medical malpractice claims arising out of state law must be pursued in state court, as discussed in a recent Maryland ruling. If you were injured by the incompetence of a doctor, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated at the defendant facility with the defendant doctor for mental health issues. The defendant doctor prescribed the plaintiff medication, which he alleged caused him to suffer migraines, issues concentrating, and bloody urine. Additionally, he asserted that the defendant doctor prescribed him other medication that caused weight gain and blurred vision.

Reportedly, the defendant doctor did not inform the plaintiff of the potential side effects before prescribing him the drugs. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendants in federal court, seeking fifteen million dollars in damages.

Medical Malpractice Claims in Federal Courts

The court explained that federal courts only have jurisdiction to hear civil matters arising under the laws, treaties, or Constitution of the United States, or civil disputes between citizens of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Further, the courts have an independent duty to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even if no party in the cases sets forth a jurisdictional challenge.

The party that files a federal lawsuit bears the burden of establishing a court’s jurisdiction is proper. In the subject case, the plaintiff asserted that the court had federal question jurisdiction over the case because his claims were based on violations of his Constitutional rights. While the court found that the plaintiff asserted the defendants violated his rights, he did not assert that the defendants were acting under the color of state law, as required to impose liability under the applicable statute. As such, the court lacked federal question jurisdiction.

Further, as the parties were citizens of the same statute, the court could not exercise diversity jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims, which the court characterized as medical malpractice claims. Thus, it dismissed his complaint.

Speak to a Capable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

The failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent can lead to significant harm, and people who suffer side effects they were not informed might occur may be able to recover damages from their providers and should speak to an attorney. If you were harmed by the carelessness of your doctor, the capable Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek the full amount of compensation recoverable under the law, and if you hire us, we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.


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