Earlier this year, we posted about a Maryland physician who was accused of molesting one of his patients. In a recent development in that case, the presiding judge determined that the case should be moved out of Allegany County—where it was originally filed—and moved to another forum in order to preserve the defendant doctor’s right to an impartial jury.
As it turns out, the defendant doctor is not only facing serious charges that may carry with them inherent bias, but he also has a previous conviction for a gun-point rape from Florida. Notwithstanding this conviction, he was somehow able to obtain a medical license in Maryland.
The judge cited the nature of the charges, the publicity of the case in Allegany County, and the publicity of the defendant doctor’s past criminal record as reasons to move the case outside the county. It is not yet clear which county will hear the case.
The defendant doctor claims to have not molested the plaintiff in this case. However, he did surrender his medical license this past September in the wake of allegations that he molested another female patient.
Changing Forums in Medical Malpractice Cases
The defendant doctor in the case mentioned above felt that he would not be able to have a fair trial in the county where the lawsuit originated, due to the extensive public coverage his case received since its inception. Whenever a defendant to a lawsuit can cite a legitimate reason that the forum that is currently hearing the case will not be a fair one, the presiding judge has the authority to order the case transferred to another jurisdiction in hopes of finding a fairer jury.
Often, run-of-the-mill cases will not get a request for a forum change granted, since all charges could be said to carry some prejudice with them. However, when there are extenuating circumstances a defendant may seek to move the case out of the current jurisdiction.
With that said, it is often not in the plaintiff’s best interest to move the case to another jurisdiction for several reasons. First, the jury pool in the selected jurisdiction is presumably the most familiar with both parties. Second, the plaintiff has the right to choose a convenient forum. Moving the forum may require the plaintiff and his or her witnesses to travel long distances to attend the proceedings. Finally, a change in forum will delay the proceedings, ultimately putting off any justice that the plaintiff achieves.
Have You Been Injured in a Malpractice Incident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland medical malpractice case, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your injuries or loss. However, defendants are given rights that they can use in some occasions, resulting in a more inconvenient and potentially less successful trial. To make sure that you are treated fairly from the beginning of the proceeding to the end, contact one of the dedicated Maryland malpractice attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen at 410-654-3600 to set up a free initial consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Construction Worker Injured in Workplace Accident Receives Verdict of over $21 Million, Maryland Accident Law Blog, November 10, 2014.
Baltimore Boy Awarded Over $2 Million in Lead-Exposure Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 8, 2014