Gerald T. Murphy, Jr., Wins Summary Judgment On Behalf Of Hospital Dismissing Wrongful Death Case

Senior Associate, Gerald T. Murphy, Jr. recently won summary judgment on behalf of our client, a metropolitan area teaching hospital in a premises liability case. Plaintiff sought damages for serious injury and the wrongful death of a patient, allegedly resulting from the aftermath of a fall and broken hip. During the period of alleged negligence, the decedent had been transferred to our hospital from a nursing and rehabilitation facility for treatment of certain ailments. During the course of the admission, a hip fracture of unknown origin was diagnosed and the decedent’s health deteriorated. The decedent eventually passed away and a lawsuit was commenced against the hospital and nursing facility. The plaintiff claimed that the decedent was caused to suffer from pain and suffering, serious injury and eventual death due to the alleged negligence and misconduct of the named defendants.

In Mr. Murphy’s motion papers, he made numerous arguments in favor of dismissal of the case on behalf of our client. His primary argument was that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate where, when and how the decedent’s hip was fractured and thereby failed to show any liability on the part of the hospital for any such fall.

In a decision dated August 16, 2018, the New York Supreme Court-Queens County held that the hospital had established its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law by proffering sufficient evidence including but not limited to hospital records, statements of personnel, supporting affidavits and testimony, which demonstrated that there was no evidence that the decedent had fallen at the hospital. The court held that the hospital had shown that the plaintiff had failed to cite any specific instances of negligent conduct attributable to the hospital or its employees, or the absence of any conduct that could have been viewed as being so reckless or wantonly negligent as to be equivalent of a conscious disregard of the rights of others. Essentially, he proved the opposite – that the patient hadn’t fallen in the hospital at all.

As such, the Court granted Mr. Murphy’s motion in its entirety, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint against the hospital only.

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