Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
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At issue in this medical malpractice action was whether a surety bond in the amount of $6,000 satisfied the requirement of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 60B that a plaintiff wishing to proceed after a tribunal has found in favor of a defendant must file “bond in the amount of [$6,000] in the aggregate secured by cash or its equivalent.” A medical malpractice tribunal concluded that there was not evidence sufficient to raise a legitimate question of liability appropriate for judicial inquiry, as required by section 60B. Plaintiff then filed a surety bond in the amount of $6,000 in order to pursue his claim through the judicial process. A superior court judge allowed a defendant’s motion to strike the surety bond and to dismiss the complaint, concluding that the surety bond did not satisfy Plaintiff’s statutory obligation. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that a surety bond in the face amount of $6,000 is not the “equivalent” of $6,000 in cash for purposes of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 60B. View "Polanco v. Sandor" on Justia Law

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Washington commenced a medical malpractice action in a federal district court against Maryjo Gagliani. A medical malpractice tribunal reviewed the case and found for Gagliani. Washington then moved the superior court to reduce the amount of the bond required for him to pursue his claim in the face of an adverse tribunal ruling. The superior court denied the motion. Washington filed a notice of appeal, but the notice was never processed. The superior court, meanwhile, allowed Gagliani’s motion to dismiss Washington’s complaint for failure to post the bond. The matter was then transferred back to the federal court. The federal court allowed Gagliani’s motion to dismiss due to Washington’s failure to post a bond. Washington filed a Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition seeking relief from the superior court’s “failure to docket and recognize his appeal of” the tribunal’s ruling. A single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superior court and appeals court had no jurisdiction after the tribunal’s ruling to act further with respect to that ruling. Washington could not pursue his claim and challenge the tribunal’s ruling in the federal courts. View "Washington v. Gagliani" on Justia Law

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In this case the Supreme Judicial Court recognized the “continuing treatment doctrine” under Massachusetts law, which provides that a medical malpractice cause of action does not accrue while a patient is continuing to receive treatment for the same or related condition from the same physician who allegedly caused the patient harm. Here Plaintiffs, on behalf of their minor son, brought a medical malpractice action against Defendant-physician for his alleged negligence in connection with a “radio frequency ablation” procedure he performed on their son that eventually resulted in the amputation of the child’s leg. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Defendant, finding that the action was barred by the relevant statute of limitations because Plaintiffs knew or reasonably should have known that their son had been harmed by the Defendant’s conduct more than three years before Plaintiffs filed the action. On appeal, the Supreme Judicial Court adopted the continuing treatment exception to the discovery rule and then affirmed, holding that, because Defendant’s participation in treating the child ended more than three years before the suit was filed, the cause of action was not timely under the statute of limitations. View "Parr v. Rosenthal" on Justia Law