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Scottoline v. Women First, LLC.

Superior Court of Delaware

October 15, 2019

LAUREN SCOTTOLINE, individually and as Parent and Guardian of J.S.S., a Minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
WOMEN FIRST, LLC, FIRST STATE WOMEN'S CARE, P.A, MATERNITY AND GYNECOLOGY ASSOCIATES, P.A., and CHRISTIANA CARE HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. Defendants.

          Submitted: October 11, 2019

          TRIAL BY JURY OF TWELVE DEMANDED

          Bruce L. Hudson, Esquire

          Bradley J. Goewert, Esquire

          Thomas J. Marcoz, Esquire

          ORDER

          ABIGAIRL M. LEGROW, JUDGE.

         Upon Review of the Affidavit of Merit - Accepted

         On October 11, 2019, Defendants Women First, LLC, d/b/a First State Women's Care, d/b/a Maternity and Gynecology Associates, filed a motion asking the Court to review Plaintiffs' affidavit of merit, in camera, to determine whether it complies with IS Del. C. §§ 6853(a)(1) and (c).[1]

         Specifically, Defendants asked the Court to determine whether the affidavit: (1) is signed by an expert witness; (2) is accompanied by a curriculum vitae; (3) gives an opinion there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a breach in the standard of care by the Moving Defendants and that the breach is the proximate cause of the injuries alleged in the Complaint; and (4) indicates the expert is licensed to practice medicine as of the date of the affidavit, and establishes the expert, for the three years preceding the alleged negligent act, has been engaged in the treatment of patients and/or in the teaching/academic side of medicine in the same or similar field of medicine at issue in this case, which is obstetrics and gynecology.

         In Delaware, a healthcare negligence lawsuit must be filed with an affidavit of merit, signed by an expert, and accompanied by the expert's current curriculum vitae.[2] The expert must be licensed to practice medicine as of the affidavit's date and engaged in the same or similar field as the defendant in the three years immediately preceding the alleged negligence.[3] The affidavit must state that reasonable grounds exist to believe the defendant was negligent in a way that proximately caused the plaintiffs injury.[4] The statute's requirements are minimal. Accordingly, an affidavit of merit tracking the statutory language complies with the statute.[5]

         After in camera review, the Court finds:

1. An expert signed the affidavit;
2. The affidavit was accompanied by a current curriculum vitae;
3. The expert gives an opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a breach in the standard of care by each defendant and that each breach against each defendant was a proximate ...

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