21 Sep Virginia: Medical Malpractice – A Lawyer’s Certifications
By “first impression” opinion letter on August 2, 2017, and Order Denying Motions to Dismiss on September 20, 2017, Norfolk Circuit Court found that Mr. Waterman timely obtained the required expert certifications for medical malpractice under Va. Code §8.01-20.1 and §8.01-50.1. The wrongful death case involved is Wilder v. Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, No. CL16-8482-00.
The Wilder medical malpractice decisions twice rejected defense arguments that Plaintiff simply requesting issuance of Summons for complaint service constituted a request for service. Wilder delineates requesting issuance of process and requesting service of that process are materially different.
Also, the Wilder wrongful death rulings uphold the sufficiency of: (1) a barebone expert certification that tracks only the language required by §8.01-20.1 and §8.01-50.1; (2) a single expert certifying for multiple defendants; (3) a single expert certifying for Defendants of multiple different specialties; and (4) Plaintiff counsel’s reasonable belief that his certifying expert would qualify under Va. Code §8.01-581.20(A), even if he were wrong in fact. Wilder acknowledges: “The statutory language [of §8.01-20.1 and §8.01-50.1] must be strictly construed and may not be gratuitously enlarged by the Court beyond the expressed terms.”