Senior Partner John J. Barbera, Appellate Partner Gregory A. Cascino and Senior Associate Christopher J. Daniel were successful in obtaining a dismissal of their client medical center, and its several entities, from a medical malpractice claim based upon the immunity provided by the Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (“EDTPA”). Accepted the defense argument that its client urgent care center was not a proper party to the action and granted the defense motion to dismiss on that ground. This resulted in full dismissal against all of the MCB defendants.
The case concerned a woman with a significant medical history who presented to the client medical center in April of 2020 after suffering a fall during a chemotherapy session. The patient was admitted to the medical center until July of 2020. It is alleged that during the admission, the patient developed a pressure wound on her coccyx that worsened prior to her discharge and worsened further after she was transferred to the co-defendant nursing home and rehabilitation center. The patient died in September of 2022. The defense was able to demonstrate via evidence produced via the medical center that its multiple resources were necessarily redistributed within the facility to safely address the emergent pandemic.
In dismissing the causes of action against the client health system, the Court first determined that the repeal of the EDTPA was not intended to be retroactive and relied on the Fourth Appellate Department’s holding in Ruth v. Elderwood at Amherst, 209 A.D.3d 1281(4th Dep’t 2022). The Court then determined that the defense demonstrated their entitlement to the broad immunity afforded under EDTPA. With these two factors established in favor of the defendants, the Court determined that plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint did not sufficiently plead gross negligence or reckless conduct in the causes of action asserted against the defendants. The Court dismissed all causes asserted against the defendants based upon the EDTPA. The plaintiff-husband’s claim for loss of society and companionship was dismissed as this cause of action was extinguished when the malpractice causes of action were dismissed pursuant to the EDTPA.
This well-reasoned decision and outcome confirms that health care facilities retain the protections provided to them under EDTPA while it was in effect, notwithstanding its later repeal. This decision also confirms that the immunity provided by the EDTPA was intended to be broad in scope.