Recent Case Results

Court of Special Appeals Affirms Venue Change Sought by Goodell DeVries in Medical Malpractice Case 

June 2014

In the pending case of Hall v. MedStar Physician Partners, et al., the plaintiff alleges that an antibiotic prescribed by her primary care provider led to a serious infection with devastating consequences, including the amputation of her leg and hip. At the time of the care, both the plaintiff and the medical provider lived and worked in Baltimore County, and the medical care in question occurred in Baltimore County.  Subsequently, both the plaintiff and the medical provider moved away, and neither is currently a Maryland resident.  Despite the strong connection of the case to Baltimore County, the plaintiff elected to file her lawsuit in Baltimore City on the grounds that the physician’s employer has offices in Baltimore City and some of the plaintiff’s follow-up care occurred in Baltimore City.  She contended that although neither venue is more convenient than the other for the actual parties, some of the damages witnesses are located in the City, and therefore Baltimore City is the more “convenient” venue.  The medical provider, represented by Goodell DeVries attorneys Donald L. DeVries, Jr. and K. Nichole Nesbitt, moved to transfer venue to Baltimore County, arguing that pure notions of convenience were neutral, but that the public interest of having local controversies decided in the venue where they occurred militated in favor of Baltimore County.  The Baltimore City circuit court granted the defense’s request for a transfer of venue, and the Court of Special Appeals recently affirmed this decision, noting the importance of considering the public interests even when issues of convenience are neutral.  This is an important decision on the issue of forum non conveniences and likely will be important in future cases where the interests of justice – rather than notions of convenience – are the primary driver for the venue analysis.