Maryland Court Explains Federal Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under Maryland law, people harmed by the negligence of healthcare providers have the right to pursue redress for their losses via medical malpractice claims. Such claims can be pursued independently, but it is not uncommon for parties to assert several causes of action in a single lawsuit. While this is permissible if such cases are pursued in federal court, and the court subsequently dismisses claims arising under federal law, it most likely will decline to exercise jurisdiction over any medical malpractice claims arising under state law. This was demonstrated recently in a case in which the District Court of Maryland declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, it is smart to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney about what steps you can take to protect your interest.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is reported that the plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a lawsuit against several defendants, asserting the demonstrated deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of federal law and committed medical malpractice in violation of state law. Specifically, he claimed that his psychiatric medication was discontinued leading to depression, irrational thoughts, and mood swings, and that the defendants ignored his requests to reinstate the medication.

Allegedly, none of the defendants had been served, but one of the defendants agreed to respond to the complaint without being served. They filed a motion to dismiss the complaint or, alternatively, for summary judgment. The plaintiff opposed the motion and requested permission to serve the other defendants.

Federal Jurisdiction Over State Medical Malpractice Claims

The court found that no hearing was necessary and proceeded to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of federal law. The court also declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims arising under state law and dismissed them without prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

Under this provision, a federal court can decline to hear additional claims in a lawsuit that are related to the main claim if it has dismissed all claims over which it had original jurisdiction. In other words, if a lawsuit involves multiple claims, and one claim falls under federal jurisdiction while the others fall under state law, the federal court can choose not to hear the state law claims if the basis for the case being before the federal court no longer exists.

Talk to a Dedicated Maryland Attorney

People harmed by medical malpractice will often pursue damages for their harm, but if they fail to assert their claims in the proper forum, they may waive the right to recover compensation. If you were harmed by a reckless physician, you should talk to a lawyer about your rights. The dedicated Maryland lawyers of Arfaa Law Group dedicate their practice to helping victims of medical negligence seek justice for their losses, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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