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Fairfax, Leesburg & Loudoun, Virginia

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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
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Maryland Hospital Cannot be Sued in Virginia if No Business in Virginia

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After the question of whether to bring a lawsuit, the issue of where to bring the case usually follows. With citizens of Virginia often transacting business and getting hurt in the nearby jurisdictions of Maryland and the District of Columbia, the problem of where to file the case comes up regularly. Sometimes there may be more than one proper place to bring an accident case. However, if the injured person, or the family of an injured victim brings the claim in the wrong court, the case can be transferred or dismissed. The Federal Court in Richmond, Virginia recently ruled that
the estate of a man who allegedly contracted a MRSA infection because of the negligence of the Defendant Maryland hospital cannot sue the hospital under the Maryland Health Care Claims Act in a Virginia federal court

The court reasoned that as the Plaintiff could not identify any Virginia long-arm statutory provision that applied to the case, and the court could not independently find any of the requirements of the long-arm statute to be satisfied, the Federal judges could not hear the case in Virginia. According to the Virginia Lawyers Weekly, there were several facts that were important to the judge's decision. Specifically, the medical injuries giving rise to this cause of action did not occur as a result of defendant transacting any business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Rather, decedent traveled to Maryland where he allegedly received substandard treatment. Likewise the Defendant’s alleged negligence transpired solely on the hospital premises in Maryland. Furthermore, the Defendant Hospital does not regularly do business or engage in any persistent conduct within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although the defendant may accept patients from Virginia, it did not derive substantial revenue from any services rendered within this Commonwealth. Bottom line: the Plaintiff failed to persuade the Virginia Federal court that it would be appropriate to exercise personal jurisdiction over defendant. However, rather than dismiss plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety, the court transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.