Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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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