In the recent case of Arsenault v. Bhattacharya, a Massachusetts appellate court considered whether the dismissal without prejudice of a medical malpractice action was appropriate. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the doctor on October 21, 2013, alleging that the doctor incompetently treated her for carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. The doctor first began treating the woman for these conditions in January 2008.
In response to the plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the case was time-barred under the statute of limitations. According to Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 231, section 60L, a plaintiff must provide notice to a physician of an intent to file a lawsuit against him or her. The notice must be provided six months before the lawsuit is filed. This statute also lays out a number of other requirements that apply to medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts. For example, the notice must include a description of the facts giving rise to the claim and the standard of care that the plaintiff deems applicable to the circumstances. It also allows for the six-month notice period to be shortened to 90 days when certain conditions are met.