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Maryland Appeals Court Remands Case over Plaintiff’s Failure to File Supplemental Certificate of Qualified Expert

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that you believe is the result of medical malpractice, our Baltimore medical injury attorneys are here for you. With extensive experience advocating for victims of medical malpractice in Maryland, we understand how to protect your rights and hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm that they caused.

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland remanded to the circuit court a medical malpractice and wrongful death case alleging failure to diagnose and treat the decedent’s condition within the appropriate time frame. In this case, the plaintiff failed to file a supplemental certificate in a timely manner and the circuit court dismissed the case as a result. The appellate court remanded the case to the lower court to clarify the question of whether dismissal was the appropriate response, or whether some other remedy would have been more appropriate.

In a medical malpractice case, Maryland law requires a plaintiff file a supplemental certificate of a qualified expert within 15 days following the date of the discovery deadline. The court is required to grant an extension to this deadline if “good cause” is shown. However, if a plaintiff fails to file a supplemental certificate of a qualified expert for a defendant, the court can dismiss the claim on a motion of the defendant. Here, the circuit court denied the plaintiff’s motion for additional time holding that the plaintiff did not show good cause. The circuit court, thus, dismissed the case altogether. While the dismissal was without prejudice, it had the same effect because the statute of limitations had run in the case.

In remanding the case, the appellate court explained that the circuit court was required to conduct two separate inquires before dismissing the case. First, the circuit court had to decide whether the plaintiff had shown good cause for an extension of time to file the certificate. Second, if the court determined that the plaintiff had not demonstrated good cause, it still had to figure out whether dismissal was the appropriate response for her failure to show cause.

The appellate court further explained that when deciding whether to dismiss a case for a plaintiff’s failure to file a supplemental certificate in time, the court could consider a multitude of factors including: the reason for the failure to file, the impact of the failure to file on others in the case, and whether a response other than dismissing the case might address the concerns of the affected parties and of the judicial system itself.

Medical injuries can lead to serious and long-term complications. If you have been injured due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arfaa Law Group, our experienced and hard-working Baltimore failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis attorneys understand the laws as well as the procedural requirements that we need to consider in your case. To discuss your case in more detail with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.