It’s unusual for medical malpractice cases to be filed in state court because they’re a type of negligence claim that arises under state law. But it’s not impossible to end up if the circumstances are right.
Diversity jurisdiction of federal district courts is defined by 28 U.S. Code Section 1332, which grants original jurisdiction where:
• The amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Virtually any medical negligence case will pass that threshold.
• The plaintiffs are defendants are citizens of different states. This means that no plaintiff can have the same citizenship as any defendant. Citizenship is straightforward when it comes to individuals but determining the citizenship of some corporate entities may require research. Most hospitals, though, are citizens of the state in which they’re located.
When these criteria are present, it’s important for a plaintiff’s attorney to weigh the risks and benefits of filing the case in state court versus federal court. In the last year alone, we’ve opted to file three cases in federal court where our clients were out-of-state citizens. The defendants were in Harris County, Texas, including Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and Memorial Hermann.
As a final point, where there’s diversity jurisdiction and a plaintiff files case in state court, the defendant has an option to move the case to federal court. This maneuver is called a removal action.
When you’ve been seriously injured by poor health care in Texas, then contact a top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for help in evaluating your potential case.