Submitted: December 17, 2019
Jeffrey J Clark, Judge
Review of the Affidavit of Merit
matter involves a healthcare negligence suit filed by
Plaintiff Mechelle Flamer against Defendant Nanticoke
Memorial Hospital ("Nanticoke"). Plaintiff alleges
negligent medical care arising from emergency room treatment
in July 2017. She specifically alleges that Nanticoke is
liable for negligent emergency room care performed by its
agents, servants or employees. Nanticoke has filed a motion
requesting an in camera review of Ms. Flamer's
affidavit of merit to determine whether it complies with 18
Del. C. § 6853(a)(1) and (c).
Delaware, a healthcare negligence lawsuit must be filed with
an affidavit of merit as to each defendant, signed by an
expert, and accompanied by the expert's curriculum
vitae. The expert must be licensed to practice
medicine as of the affidavit's date and engaged in this
practice in the same or similar field as the defendant in the
three years immediately preceding the alleged
negligence. The affidavit must also state that
reasonable grounds exist to believe that each defendant was
negligent in a way that proximately caused the
plaintiff's injury. The affidavit of merit must be filed
under seal, but a defendant may request an in camera
review of the affidavit to ensure that it complies with the
statute's requirements. The Delaware Supreme Court has
observed that Athe General Assembly intended the affidavit of
merit merely to operate 'as a prophylactic measure'
to 'reduce the filing of meritless medical negligence
claims.'" As a result, the requirements for the
affidavit of merit are Apurposefully
minimal." An affidavit of merit that tracks the
statutory language complies with the statute.
requested, after an in camera review of the
affidavit of merit and the expert witness's
curriculum vitae, the Court finds:
1. The expert signed the affidavit.
2. The expert attached a current curriculum vitae.
3. The expert is currently licensed to practice medicine in
4. The expert is board certified in emergency medicine, and
has served for a number of years as a medical director at a
hospital's department of emergency medicine.
5. The expert has been treating patients in the same field as
the defendant for over three years, including the three years
immediately preceding the alleged negligent conduct. Namely,
the affidavit and accompanying curriculum vitae
specifically reference the expert's experience in
6. The affidavit states that reasonable grounds exist to
believe that Nanticoke breached the applicable standard of
care while treating Ms.
and that the breach was a proximate cause of the her
injuries. It therefore follows that the affidavit of merit
complies with 18 Del. C. § 6853(a)(1) and (c)
as to allegations involving Nanticoke's treatment of Ms.
Flamer. While the Defendant is a hospital, the Court
concludes that based on the doctor's recited experience
in emergency medicine and as a medical director at a
hospital's department of emergency medicine, he or she
has experience in a similar field of medicine in the relevant
field for more than three years immediately preceding the