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Maryland Court Discusses Venue in Medical Malpractice Cases

Generally, a plaintiff has the right to determine where to file a lawsuit, and as long as jurisdictional requirements are met, the plaintiff’s choice will not be disturbed. There are exceptions, however, that will allow a court to transfer a case to another venue, despite the plaintiff’s protests. Recently, a Maryland court discussed the grounds for requesting a change of venue in a ruling issued in a medical malpractice case. If you or someone you love suffered harm due to the incompetence of a doctor, you may be owed damages, and it is prudent to meet with a trusted Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to assess your options.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff mother was treated at the defendant medical center during her pregnancy. The plaintiff child suffered severe injuries at birth, and the mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant on his behalf in Baltimore City. The defendant filed a motion to transfer venue to Baltimore County on the grounds of forum non-conveniens.  The court granted the motion. The plaintiff then appealed, arguing that the court abused its discretion in granting the motion. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed.

Grounds for Granted a Change of Venue

Pursuant to the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure, a court can transfer any case to another court where the matter may have been brought if the transfer is for the convenience of the witnesses and parties. Notably, a court may transfer a matter to another venue even if the case was brought in a proper venue. The plaintiff’s choice of venue is given deference, but the right to choose where a matter is heard is not an absolute privilege.  Thus, the court must weigh the interests of justice, which is comprised of public and private interests, and the convenience of the parties, in determining whether a transfer of venue is appropriate.

Private interests include the ease of access to sources of proof, the ability to compel witnesses to attend if they are unwilling, and any other issues that pertain to making the trial of a case efficient and cost-effective. Conversely, public interests include the consideration of court congestion, local interest in the matter, and the burdens of jury duty.

In the subject case, the appellate court ultimately found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling in favor of the defendant. Specifically, it found that the public and private interest considerations weighed in favor of the defendant. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Meet with an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Where a medical malpractice case is heard can have a significant impact on the outcome, and it is critical for a plaintiff’s chosen forum to be upheld. If you were hurt by a doctor’s careless acts, you may be able to pursue medical malpractice claims and should meet with a lawyer as soon as possible regarding your rights. The experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are skilled at proving the liability of negligent health care providers, and if you hire us, we will work 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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