The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City to transfer a medical malpractice action to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.
The deceased plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Baltimore County and taken by first responders to a Baltimore County hospital, where he was treated by an emergency room physician who exclusively practices medicine in Baltimore County. When examination and studies revealed that the patient needed surgery for his traumatic injuries, the emergency room physician transferred the patient to a trauma hospital in Baltimore City. The patient expired shortly after arrival to the Baltimore City hospital. The plaintiffs filed suit in Baltimore City, claiming that venue was proper because the patient passed away in that jurisdiction. On behalf of the emergency room physician who had no ties to Baltimore City, AC&K argued that Baltimore County was the only proper venue as well as the more just and convenient forum to adjudicate a dispute involving treatment of a Baltimore County resident at a Baltimore County hospital by a physician who exclusively practices medicine in Baltimore County. The trial court agreed with our arguments and transferred the matter to Baltimore County.
The plaintiffs filed an appeal, and, following oral argument, the Court affirmed transfer of the case to Baltimore County. The Court explored whether the case could be properly brought in Baltimore City as the allegations of negligence all stem from conduct in Baltimore County, and the only connection to Baltimore City was that the patient expired upon reaching a Baltimore City hospital. The Court, however, did not need to decide whether Baltimore City was a legally proper venue as it affirmed transfer to Baltimore County on the grounds that it was the more convenient forum and served the interests of justice. The case will now proceed in Baltimore County.