Megan Lawless Wins Hard Fought Dismissal of Claims Against a Brooklyn Hospital and Several Attending Physicians at the Hospital

The BPN COVID-19 Team secured pre-answer dismissal in a high profile malpractice claim against our clients, a Brooklyn hospital and several physicians affiliated with the hospital. Plaintiff brought malpractice claims against our clients, who were physicians and a major Brooklyn hospital proudly serving the local community in the darkest days of COVID-19. Plaintiff claimed the hospital and its physicians failed to timely detect and treat COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic in March of 2020. The patient was a hospital employee, who was being followed during her pregnancy by the Ob/Gyn team. She presented on two occasions in early March and was diagnosed as one of the first COVID-19 patients in Brooklyn. She was aggressively treated, and eventually required intubation. She was extubated, but then suffered an apparent COVID-19 clot allegedly causing quadriplegia.

This claim gained national press and was the subject of defining COVID-19 appellate decisions, including one by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It was returned to the Supreme Court, Kings County and Megan Lawless moved to dismiss on the pleadings based on the EDTPA and PREP Act immunities. She later engaged in spirited oral argument on the motion. The court eventually agreed with Megan’s argument that the EDTPA was not retroactively repealed; that this patient’s care was impacted by acts and decisions related to her COVID-19 diagnosis and the desire to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and that plaintiff did not plead any genuine exception to the EDTPA immunity since the allegations of gross negligence were conclusory, self-serving and lacked sufficient facts to substantiate the claim. Ms. Lawless has been a tireless advocate on this issue, and the COVID-19 team is very proud of this fantastic result for the well deserving Brooklyn hospital and the physicians who risked their lives to protect Brooklynites and the rest of New York from the early, terrifying surge of COVID-19.