Pursuant to Maryland law, people harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation via civil claims. Parties that file medical malpractice lawsuits must comply with procedural rules, however, otherwise their claims may be dismissed, regardless of whether they have merit. This was emphasized recently when a Maryland court affirmed the dismissal of a medical malpractice case due to the plaintiff’s failure to properly serve the defendant. If you sustained losses because of negligent medical care, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney about what you must do to establish liability.
Procedural History of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a pro se lawsuit against the defendant seeking damages for numerous causes of action, including medical malpractice. Three weeks after the plaintiff filed his complaint, the trial court issued a writ of summons for the defendant. Approximately four months later, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint due to insufficient process, insufficient service, and lack of jurisdiction. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
Procedural Rules for Pursuing Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that the plaintiff attempted to serve the defendant on three occasions. During the first attempt, he delivered a handwritten summons that did not include the court’s seal. In the second attempt, he delivered one page of the court-issued summons but not the entire summons or the complaint.
In the last attempt, he delivered the complaint along with the court-issued summons, but more than 60 days had passed since the time the summons was issued, which rendered it ineffective. Further, the summons was not served on a president, resident agent, treasurer, or secretary of the defendant, as required to effectuate the service of a corporation. The court explained that a party’s neglect to comply with the Maryland rules pertaining to the service of process is considered a jurisdictional defect that bars a court from exercising personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
Further, the court noted that evidentiary, procedural, and appellate rules apply to both parties and their attorneys. In other words, the court does not apply different standards when dealing with matters filed by pro se parties. Additionally, the defendant did not cite any authority that exempted him from any of the service requirements, or demonstrated that the summons was valid for more than 60 days so as to render his last service attempt effective. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Confer with a Skilled Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
People that wish to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits against negligent healthcare providers that carelessly caused their harm must abide by any jurisdictional and procedural rules to avoid the dismissal of their claims. If you were hurt by incompetent medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can inform you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.