Summary Judgment in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Case

If you or someone close to you has been harmed by a physician’s negligence in a hospital setting, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore hospital negligence attorneys understand how to navigate these types of claims and can put our knowledge to use in your case. You can rest assured that we will scrutinize the facts of your case and come up with a strategy to effectively respond to any motions for summary judgment that you may face in the process.

Under Maryland law, a party is entitled to summary judgment only when there is “no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Put another way, the proponent of summary judgment must make a prima facie showing of their entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating the absence of any material issues of fact in the case. Essentially, summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party establishes that the opposing party cannot win, even if all credibility conflicts are resolved in the opposing party’s favor. For instance, if a jurisdiction requires the plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim to produce an expert witness to establish the case, summary judgment may be proper if a plaintiff cannot produce a qualified expert.

This is actually what happened in the case of Hannon, et al. v. Mercy Medical Center, in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the trial court granting summary judgment to the defendants in a Maryland medical malpractice case, prior to the scheduled trial, holding that the plaintiff failed to secure a medical expert to testify on their behalf during trial. This was sufficient reason for the trial court to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

In the case at hand, the plaintiffs had filed a claim against the defendant Maryland hospital, alleging the hospital had breached the standard of care by failing to immediately perform a necessary procedure on their father, which led to his death. The plaintiffs repeatedly failed to comply with discovery requests and ultimately did not produce an expert witness to testify on their behalf. At this point, the defendants filed for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs could not present a prima facie case of medical negligence without expert testimony. The plaintiffs did not respond to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The trial court held that this case involved a complex medical issue for which an expert would be required, and since the plaintiffs did not secure one, sufficient information regarding the cause of death could not be presented to the jury. As a result, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted. The Maryland Appellate Court upheld the decision.

If you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore hospital negligence attorneys understand how to pursue the compensation you deserve for your harm. With years of experience, we understand the procedural rules and tactics that may be at play in your medical malpractice case, and we can prepare accordingly. We take on clients from all across Maryland. To learn more, feel free to call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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