Recent Case Illustrates the Importance of Naming All Potentially Liable Parties from the Outset of a Medical Malpractice Case

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Idaho issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case, affirming the dismissal of the case because the plaintiff failed to name the proper parties within the relevant statute of limitations. In the case, English v. Taylor, the court decided that the filing date of the amended complaint, rather than the date on which the plaintiffs sought leave to amend, was the date that triggered the lawsuit.

ClockThe Facts of the Case

Mrs. English underwent surgery at the defendant’s facility in 2011. As a result of a complication with the surgery, English suffered a stroke and sustained related injuries. After her recovery, English and her husband filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of one of the medical devices that was used in the surgery. At that time, neither the doctor who performed the surgery nor the medical facility where the surgery was performed were named as defendants.

One day before the two-year statute of limitations was over, the Englishes filed a request for a medical provider to review the surgery to determine if there may have been any medical malpractice involved. This “tolled” or paused the statute of limitations and provided the Englishes with an additional 30 days. During that 30-day period, the Englishes filed a motion with the court, asking for permission to amend their complaint to add the doctor as well as the medical facility as defendants, and to amend the cause of action to include a medical malpractice theory. The court granted permission.

Shortly after the adjusted statute of limitations had run, the Englishes filed the newly amended complaint, naming the two new defendants. In response, the defendants asked the court to dismiss the case against them, since the case had not actually been filed until after the adjusted statute of limitations had run.

The Englishes argued that they asked the court for leave to amend the complaint within the period allowed by the statute of limitations, and this request should count as when the case was filed. However, the court disagreed, finding that it is the date when the actual complaint is filed that controls for a statute-of-limitations analysis. As a result, the Englishes will not be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or the medical facility.

Have You Been the Victim of a Doctor’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of what you believe to be medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Keep in mind that it is extremely important for your case that all deadlines and procedural requirements are followed, or your case may be dismissed without ever being heard. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Charles B. Roberts & Associates have extensive experience bringing medical malpractice cases on behalf of our clients, and we know what it takes to succeed in Virginia courts. Call 703-491-7070 today to set up a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today.

See More Blog Posts:

Manufacturer Escapes Liability in Product Liability Lawsuit Based on “Optional Equipment Doctrine”, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 18, 2016.

Court Determines Parking Lot Placed Across Dangerous Street May Give Rise to Landowner Liability, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 4, 2016.