Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Court

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Plaintiffs brought a medical malpractice action against a number of defendants, including Physician. After the medical malpractice tribunal determined there was not sufficient evidence to raise a legitimate question of Physician's liability appropriate for judicial inquiry, Plaintiffs moved for a reduction of the $6,000 bond they were required to file to continue to pursue their claim. The judge concluded that Plaintiffs were indigent. However, because the judge believed Plaintiffs' attorney was funding the expenses of litigation, including the cost of the bond, the judge refused to reduce the amount of the bond. The Supreme Court vacated the denial of Plaintiffs' motion to reduce the amount of the bond, holding that a judge cannot consider the potential resources of counsel in determining whether to reduce the bond amount under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 60B. Remanded. View "Faircloth v. DiLillo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought a medical malpractice action against a number of defendants, including Physician. A medical malpractice tribunal determined that there was not sufficient evidence to support a finding of liability as to Physician. Plaintiffs were informed they had to provide a $6,000 bond to avoid dismissal of the claim pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 60B. Plaintiffs subsequently filed an emergency motion to reduce the amount of the bond, asserting that they were indigent and that failing to lower the bond amount would result in the dismissal of the case against Physician. The judge found Plaintiffs were indigent but denied the motion because he believed Plaintiffs' attorney was paying for Plaintiffs' litigation expenses. The Supreme Court vacated the denial of Plaintiffs' emergency motion and remanded, holding that, in denying Plaintiffs' motion without evaluating Plaintiffs' effort to present a sufficient offer of proof at the tribunal or the reasonableness of Plaintiffs' continued pursuit of their claim, the judge based his ruling on a legally erroneous standard and therefore abused his discretion. View "Cruz v. Siddiqi" on Justia Law

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Following the death of plaintiff's wife, plaintiff amended the complaint for medical malpractice in a pending action against defendants, to include a claim for wrongful death. The wrongful death claim in the amended complaint was subsequently dismissed as time barred pursuant to G.L.c. 260, section 4 (statute of repose), and plaintiff appealed. The court held that a wrongful death claim could be substituted for a personal injury claim only where the trial had not commenced; the original complaint alleging malpractice was filed within the statutes of limitation and repose; and the allegations of liability supporting the personal injury claim were the same as those supporting the wrongful death claim. Accordingly, the court held that the wrongful death claim in this case should not have been dismissed where plaintiff could, after the period of time set forth in the statue of repose had expired, amend a complaint alleging medical malpractice resulting in injury including expected premature death. View "Sisson, Jr., et al. v. Lhowe, et al." on Justia Law