The strength of a Maryland personal injury claim is irrelevant if the court dismisses a plaintiff’s case based on their failure to comply with certain court rules or procedures. Thus, it is critical that anyone considering bringing a personal injury lawsuit discuss their case with a knowledgeable Maryland injury lawyer.
A recent federal appellate decision illustrates the court’s ability to effectively eliminate a plaintiff’s opportunity to recover for their injuries if the plaintiff does not abide by the court’s orders. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was seriously injured as a result of a surgery she underwent at a hospital. The plaintiff brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, and several of the doctors who helped with the procedure.
After the defendants filed their answer to the plaintiff’s complaint, the court entered a scheduling order outlining the important deadlines in the case. Three of the deadlines that were pertinent to this appeal were:
- May 20, 2016 – Deadline for the preparation and disclosure of the plaintiff’s expert reports
- November 15, 2016 – The close of discovery
- December 16, 2016 – Deadline for the filing of all dispositive motions
The plaintiff disclosed the name of one expert witness before the applicable deadline. Not long before the deadline, the plaintiff also moved to withdraw her case against one of the defendant doctors, explaining that the evidence did not support a claim against that defendant. The court dismissed the defendant from the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
The remaining defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking the exclusion of the plaintiff’s sole expert. While that motion was pending, the plaintiff filed another motion with the court, asking to reinstate her claim against the defendant she moved to dismiss months earlier. The plaintiff cited a previously undisclosed expert report as the basis for the liability. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion to bring the defendant back into the case, and then granted the remaining defendants’ motion to exclude the plaintiff’s sole expert. Noting that the plaintiff had no means to get the necessary expert testimony into evidence, the court then dismissed the plaintiff’s case.
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision. The court explained that the lower court’s decision to exclude the expert’s testimony was reasonable, given the other available remedies for the plaintiff’s late disclosure of her expert report. The court went on to note that trial courts have an interest in maintaining a smooth-running and efficient docket, and may implement sanctions to further this interest.
Have You Been the Victim of Maryland Medical Malpractice?
If you or someone you love recently suffered a serious injury after an incident of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit. At our personal injury law firm, Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent injury victims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and have been doing so for over two decades. We provide our clients with an exceptional level of representation across all areas of medical malpractice and personal injury law. To learn more, call 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation today.