Representing a major Baltimore Hospital in a wrongful death claim in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, Michael Sloneker successfully challenged Plaintiffs' attempts to file an Amended Complaint and Certificate of Qualified Expert that sought to add new claims against additional physicians in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of a patient's family. After the statutory deadline for filing certificates of qualified experts and after the deadline for filing an amended complaint set by the Scheduling Order, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint and Certificate of Qualified Expert seeking to add new claims against two additional physicians who treated the patient. Plaintiffs explained that their original certifying expert witness misread the medical records, inadvertently criticized the care of the admitting surgeon, and intended instead to criticize the care of other previously unnamed physicians. In addition to their Amended Complaint and Certificate, Plaintiffs filed a new Certificate signed by a new expert witness, and moving papers seeking extensions of time for the belated filings. Plaintiffs argued that the error should qualify as “good cause” under the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act and, thus, they should receive an extension of time to amend their expert's Certificate and file their new Certificate.
Mr. Sloneker, opposed Plaintiffs' Motions and filed Motions to Strike the Amended Complaint and all additional and amended Certificates, arguing that the Plaintiffs' expert's error in misnaming the physicians does not rise to “good cause” under either the letter or spirit of the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act.
The Circuit Court for Baltimore City agreed and struck Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Certificates as to all new claims against additional physicians. After reviewing Defendants' moving papers and entertaining oral argument, the Court held that “Plaintiffs have failed to show good cause, under Rule or Statute, for extending time to file new [Certificates] and amend the Complaint…”