Medical Malpractice Appeal Case

Date Posted:

July 4, 2024

Post Author

Andres Beregovich

Categories

Overview of the Case

In a significant legal victory, Attorney Andres Beregovich successfully defended his client, Sally Machalek, in an appeal concerning medical malpractice presuit requirements. The case highlights the importance of adhering to Florida’s statutory guidelines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits.

Background: Presuit Requirements in Florida

Florida law mandates a rigorous presuit investigation before a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed. This process, governed by Florida Statute Chapter 766, requires claimants to:

  • Conduct a reasonable investigation into the merits of the case.
  • Obtain a corroborating affidavit from a qualified medical expert.
  • Engage in presuit discovery.

Failure to meet these requirements can lead to the dismissal of the lawsuit.

The Defendants’ Argument

In this case, the defendants, Adventist Health System/Sunbelt, Inc., d/b/a Florida Hospital Altamonte, and Dr. William Huether, alleged that Sally Machalek did not provide a corroborating affidavit within the statute of limitations. They sought to dismiss the case on these grounds.

Trial Court’s Decision

The trial court found that Machalek had served a corroborating affidavit on the defendants. The timing of the affidavit’s service within the statute of limitations was deemed a question for the jury. Consequently, the trial court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeal

The defendants filed a writ of certiorari, asking the appellate court to review the trial court’s decision. They argued that the trial court erred in denying their motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations.

Appellate Court’s Ruling

The appellate court dismissed the defendants’ writ of certiorari. The court held that the issue at hand was whether the statute of limitations barred Machalek’s cause of action, not her compliance with presuit notice requirements. The court emphasized that the statute’s plain meaning did not allow for an interlocutory appeal on a motion to dismiss for failure to follow presuit requirements based on the statute of limitations.

Significance of the Ruling

This ruling underscores the importance of following the exact procedural requirements outlined in Florida’s medical malpractice statutes. The appellate court’s decision reaffirms that:

  • The presuit requirements are mandatory.
  • Questions regarding the timing of affidavits and the statute of limitations are matters for the jury.
  • Interlocutory appeals on these grounds are not permitted under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(a).

Conclusion

Attorney Andres Beregovich’s successful defense in this appeal highlights the critical nature of procedural compliance in medical malpractice cases. The ruling provides a clear precedent that strict adherence to Florida’s statutory guidelines is essential for both plaintiffs and defendants in medical malpractice litigation.

For more information or legal assistance, please contact the Beregovich Law Firm.

Download PDF Copy of Ruling: Medical Malpractice Case 23-0780