NY Underlying Medical Malpractice Action
Facts: Plaintiff went to hospital complaining of gastrointestinal pain. Over the next few months, Plaintiff underwent a series of tests in order to diagnose his condition. He underwent a sonogram, the results of which showed that he had stones in his gallbladder. Subsequently, he underwent surgery and was left with debilitating pain that he alleges to be a result of the surgery. Plaintiff retained Defendants and sued for medical malpractice. The Defendant attorneys failed to timely re-calendar the case, which is the basis for this legal malpractice claim.
Issue: Is there a valid legal malpractice claim?
Ruling: No. There is no issue of fact as to whether the treatment Plaintiff received at the Hospital constituted medical malpractice.
Lesson: In order to win a legal malpractice claim, a Plaintiff MUST prove that he could win the underlying case. Although it was troubling that Defendant attorneys failed to timely re-calendar the case, Plaintiff did not prove that he would have been successful in the underlying case but for the Defendant attorneys’ negligence.
“In order to prevail in a legal malpractice suit, the clients must prove that their former attorneys were negligent and that they could have prevailed and recovered a judgment but for that negligence.” Tanel v. Kreitzer & Vogelman, 293 A.D.2d 420