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The complication of venue in medical malpractice cases

Venue can be an important dispute in legal matters. A recent case demonstrates complications of venue, or location of court case, in addition to difficult legal issues in medical malpractice cases. The defendants in a lawsuit against Winthrop University Medical Center and several employees, including physicians, moved to change venue from New York County to Nassau County, New York. The plaintiff argued that she lived in Brooklyn, New York at the time that she filed the lawsuit and that the trial should be held there. Her argument prevailed before the court, and therefore the trial will be held in Brooklyn.

Venue is determined by a combination of factors in New York State, including where the plaintiff and defendant reside or will reside at the time of trial, the location of witnesses and the location where the incident or actions that led to the dispute occurred. In this case, the plaintiff had resided on Long Island during the alleged medical malpractice surgery that led to her double amputation. She moved in with relatives in Brooklyn, New York in 2010.

The alleged medical malpractice occurred during 2009 when the plaintiff was in the hospital for a gynecological exam and a fairly minor surgery. The examining physician purportedly punctured her intestines during the process, leading to blood poisoning and gangrene in her lower extremities. She underwent a double amputation to save her life.

In a case where the plaintiff has serious medical issues, such as in medical malpractice cases, venue is even more important than in a typical case. The distance between the courthouse in Nassau County and Brooklyn New York may not seem like a significant distance, but in this case, when the plaintiff is suffering physically due to the double amputation, the extra transportation time can be significant. Those who have been injured due to apparent medical malpractice like this woman may want to consider such issues of venue if they are preparing to file personal injury claims of their own.

Source: NY Daily News, "Brooklyn woman whose feet were amputated in alleged medical malpractice gets her day in Kings County court," Dec. 19, 2012

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