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M&A wins summary judgment with precise expert affidavit in nursing home case

In Domoroski as Administratrix of Helen Hewitt, Deceased v. Smithtown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care, the Supreme Court, Suffolk County granted M&A’s client, Smithtown, summary judgment finding that Smithtown established that it had no negligence under any common law or statutory cause of action.  The Court found that plaintiff failed to adduce any admissible evidence that Hewitt’s fall out of bed proximately caused the injuries that resulted in her death.  The Court noted that plaintiff died from congestive heart failure and not the elbow laceration, credited the multiple neuro-checks the facility performed on Hewitt immediately after the incident which showed her vital signs stable and no disorientation.  In response, plaintiff offered no more than surmise that the fall was related to Hewitt’s demise.  This was insufficient to defeat summary judgment.

The Court gave full weight to the affidavit M&A submitted from a geriatrics expert, who provided precise and specific opinions corroborated by the evidentiary record which showed that Smithtown did not deviate from the standard of care in its treatment of Hewitt.

In contrast, the judge concluded that plaintiff failed to submit any competent evidence to create a question of fact.   The Court noted that plaintiff’s expert’s opinion was riddled with speculation and conjecture rather than setting forth a reasonable degree of certainty.  The Court roundly rejected plaintiff’s causes of action under Article 28 of the Public Health Law and gross negligence.