Maryland Court Discusses the Standard for Transfer for Forum non Conveniens in Medical Malpractice Cases

People harmed by the incompetence of their doctors have the right to pursue compensation via medical malpractice claims. As plaintiffs are the parties that institute cases, they generally get to determine where the case will be filed and what court will preside over the matter. Defendants have the right to request that cases be transferred to other counties, though, via motions for transfer for forum non conveniens. The courts must evaluate numerous factors to determine if a transfer is appropriate, and if they fail to do so, any transfer may be overturned, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a Maryland primary malpractice case. If you were injured by the errors of a primary care physician, it is in your best interest to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant primary care practice with complaints of pain, redness, and swelling in her left foot. She was seen by a nurse practitioner and diagnosed with gout. She visited the defendant medical express center with similar complaints two days later and was advised that she had cellulitis and a wound infection.

It is reported that three days later, the plaintiff went to the emergency department of a hospital due to a worsening of her symptoms. She was diagnosed with gas gangrene, and her foot was amputated. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants in Baltimore City. The defendants filed a motion for transfer to Baltimore County for forum non conveniens. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

The Standard for Transfer for Forum non Conveniens

The Maryland Rules of Procedure provide that upon the motion of any party, a court may transfer a case to any other circuit court where the matter could have been pursued if the transfer is for the convenience of the witnesses and parties and serves the interests of justice.

In considering whether the proposed forum is more convenient, the court will assess numerous factors, including whether the plaintiff lives in his or her chosen forum, whether the defendant lives in the proposed forum, where the cause of action arose, the relative convenience of the parties and witnesses and the ease with which parties can access sources of proof in each forum.

The court may weigh not only these factors but also any other factors they deem appropriate based on the facts of the case. Here, the appellate court found that the trial court failed to show that the factors weighed heavily in favor of transfer, as required under the law. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Maryland Attorney

People who visit primary care doctors are often experiencing symptoms that require prompt and thorough assessment, and if they are misdiagnosed, it can lead to critical harm. If you sustained losses due to family medicine malpractice, you might be able to recover compensation, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and advise you of your potential claims. You can reach us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.


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