In a recent case, a mother sued her daughter’s doctor after her daughter overdosed on a combination of prescription and non-prescription pills. The daughter died on May 18, 2013 after she took a lethal combination of pills. On May 15, 2015, the mother filed the claim against her daughter’s doctor, alleging that the doctor negligently prescribed her daughter a combination of opiates and sedatives, causing her death. The claim was filed three days before the claim’s two-year statute of limitations expired.
The doctor argued that the complaint should be dismissed because the woman failed to file a certificate of merit along with the complaint. State law requires plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims to file a certificate of merit at the time the complaint is filed. The certificate of merit has to state that the attorney or the plaintiff certifies that the person has consulted with a qualified health care provider, and the health care provider described the standard of care required, indicated that it was reasonably likely that the plaintiff would be able to show the defendant failed to meet that standard, and indicated that it was reasonably likely that the plaintiff would be able to show that the defendant’s failure to meet the standard caused the plaintiff’s injury. Since the mother did not file the certificate of merit at the time she filed the complaint, the mother subsequently filed a motion to amend the complaint to add a certificate of merit. However, the trial court rejected her motion and dismissed the case.