Sunday, March 2, 2008

Massachusetts: Medical Malpractice Statute of Repose Doesn't Apply to Fraud Claim

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports that a lawsuit against a doctor and nurse can go forward...
"A doctor and a nurse who allegedly falsified medical records to hide evidence of malpractice during the delivery of a child could be sued even though the seven-year statute of repose for medical negligence claims had run, the Appeals Court has ruled. The defendant doctor and nurse argued that the core of the fraud claim involved allegations of improper medical treatment and was thus subject to G.L.c. 231, Sect. 60D, and G.L.c. 260, Sect. 4, the med-mal statutes of repose."
The appeals court stated: "Although statutes of repose are meant to protect health care providers from having to defend claims long after evidence is lost, witnesses have disappeared, or memories failed, …they do not preclude the filing of separate, otherwise valid, causes of action directly addressing alleged fraudulent behavior that allowed the invocation of such statutory protections in the first instance..." according the the Lawyers Weekly article. (See full article.)

See full opinion at: Chace, et al. v. Curran, et al., Lawyers Weekly No. 11-026-08.

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