In its unreported opinion filed on August 6, 2018, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (“Maryland Appellate Court”) held that the Maryland medical malpractice plaintiff had failed to timely comply with the requirement in Maryland medical malpractice cases that a sufficient Certificate of Qualified Expert (“CQE”) and a separate report be timely filed.
In Maryland, a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (“HCADRO”). CJP § 3–2A–04(a)(1)(i). Within 90 days after filing such a claim, the plaintiff must file a certificate of a qualified expert attesting to departure from standards of care, and that the departure from standards of care is the proximate cause of the alleged injury. CJP § 3–2A–04(b)(1)(i). A report of the attesting expert must be attached to the certificate. CJP § 3–2A–04(b)(3)(i). After filing the certificate, the plaintiff may waive arbitration and pursue his claim in the circuit court. CJP § 3–2A–06B(b)(1).
If a plaintiff fails to file the certificate of qualified expert before filing suit in the circuit court, the action must be dismissed without prejudice because the filing of a proper certificate operates as a condition precedent to filing a claim in a circuit court.
The plaintiff’s certificate of qualified expert must identify with specificity, the defendant(s) (licensed professional(s)) against whom the claims are brought, include a statement that the defendant(s) breached the applicable standard of care, and that such a departure from the standard of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The certifying expert’s attached report must explain how or why the physician failed to meet the standard of care and include some details supporting the certificate of qualified expert.
Maryland law requires that the certificate of qualified expert mention explicitly the name of the licensed professional who allegedly breached the standard of care.
In the case it was deciding, the Maryland Appellate Court held: “in addition to lacking a separate report, the April 28 CQE had other fatal deficiencies. As the circuit court pointed out, the April 28 certificate of Dr. Duncan failed to comply with CJP § 3-2A-04(b) because it did not identify the specific individuals the expert considered responsible for Mr. Ariana’s death, nor did that report assert that any specific person breached any applicable standard of care or express an opinion as to how that standard of care had been breached by each health care provider, let alone opine that any such breach proximately caused Mr. Ariana’s injury.”
Source Arasteh v. Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital, No. 02605 September Term, 2014.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer (or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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