BROOKLYN – Greek-American Kostantinos Mallas, Partner at Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC, said making Lavern’s Law a reality will mean that cancer patients who were misdiagnosed may now have more time to seek justice against the physicians and/or hospitals who did not properly determine it was cancer.
On January 29, Governor Andrew Cuomo met with New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and New York State Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie to work out the details of the bill, which was sponsored by New York State Senator John DeFrancisco. As part of the agreement, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit would be changed from two and a half years from the date that the misdiagnosis occurred to two and a half years from the date the patient learned of the misdiagnosis, up to seven years from the date that the medical error occurred. On February 2, the governor signed the bill into law.
The bill is named for Lavern Wilkinson, who died of cancer on March 7, 2013. She was admitted to Kings County Hospital on February 2, 2010 for chest pains; an X-ray showed a cancerous mass in her chest, but the radiologist failed to alert Ms. Wilkinson of the discovery. She was readmitted to the hospital in 2012, but, by that time, the cancer had already spread throughout her body. Her family attempted to sue the hospital after Ms. Wilkinson passed away, but, unfortunately, at the time, the statute of limitations had expired.
“We are glad to see these elected officials come together and fight for the rights of the patients whose misdiagnoses resulted in illness or death after the cancer spread throughout their bodies,” Mr. Mallas said. “This bill will give these cancer victims more time to file lawsuits against the wrongdoers.”
The original version of the bill applied to all medical malpractice cases. That version passed the Assembly in 2015, but did not make it out of the Senate. The new bill only applies to cancer victims.
“Had the original version of Lavern’s Law passed, more patients who were misdiagnosed or received poor medical treatment could have gotten the compensation they justly deserved,” Mallas noted. “It is a shame the bill did not make it to the governor’s desk sooner.”
Kostantinos Mallas currently heads the personal injury department at the law office of Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC. He graduated with honors and received a B.S. in Paralegal Studies from St. John’s University in 1995, and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1998. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1998 and was also admitted to the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of New York in 1999 and the Southern District of New York in 2001.
He was an associate attorney at Crasto & Associates PC from 1998 to 2000 and Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannavo PC from 2000 to 2008. He is a trial lawyer with over a dozen years of experience in all types of personal injury matters. Mr. Mallas has lectured young lawyers on trial techniques for the New York State Trial Lawyers Institute and is an active member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, National Trial Lawyers, Hellenic Lawyers Association, Nathan Sobel Kings County Inns of Court, and Bay Ridge Lawyers Association. He is also an active member of many civic organizations, including AHEPA (the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association), where he served as president of his local chapter.