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Nelson v. New York Univ. Med. Ctr – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Nelson v. New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 51 AD2d 352, 355, 381 N.Y.S.2d 491 (1st Dept 1976), the court specifically rejected the notion, advanced by plaintiff herein, that certain demands are always to be permitted (or stricken as improper, as the case may be).

There, the court observed that the complaints at issue were "so general and uninformative as to raise a serious question as to whether they are designed to conceal rather than to inform", and noted that the practice of serving "boilerplate" complaints was typical in medical malpractice cases. Id. at 354.

Under such circumstances where a complaint fails to meet CPLR §3013's basic pleading requirements, the court found that defendants should be granted "the fullest bill of particulars, and . . . the court should err on the side of requiring more rather than less information to be furnished".

CPLR §3013 requires statements in pleadings to be "sufficiently particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of action or defense."

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Nelson court further recognized that in technical malpractice cases plaintiffs simply may not have some information, in which event a statement to such effect may be allowed, followed by a supplemental bill of particulars when such information is obtained. Id. at 355.

Nelson v. New York Univ. Med. Ctr was a consolidated appeal of conflicting decisions from two different Supreme Court Justices as to the propriety of a hospital defendant's identical demands for a bill of particulars served by the same defense firm in two separate cases.