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Bar News - November 14, 2008


Chief Justice Lynn Seeks New Prescription for Med Mal Screening Panels

Superior Court Chief Justice Robert Lynn is seeking help to revamp the medical malpractice screening process. His recent report on the implementation of the screening panel process for medical malpractice cases created by RSA 519-B, enumerates ways that the law is falling short of its goal two years after its enactment. His report provides figures on the number of cases filed and dispositions, but does not provide any written comment.

Comparing fiscal years 2008 to 2007, Lynn’s figures show the amount of time from the filing until disposition by a panel or by settlement is rising, and the number of cases awaiting hearings also is growing due to the lengthiness of the process.

Chief Justice Lynn is inviting attorneys involved in medical malpractice cases and retired judges who serve as chairs of screening panels to an informal meeting on Jan. 8, 2009 to explore changes in procedure to improve the process.

Committee May Be Formed to Look at Med Mal Screening Rules by Hon. Robert J. Lynn

Malpractice Screening Panel Data Confirms Opponents’ Fears by Kevin F. Dugan


September 30, 2008 Report Screening Panels for Medical Injury Claims
RSA 519-B
(Note: Total cases below are as of 8/31/2008)

Total cases filed: 190

Total cases pending: 101

    • 69 cases awaiting panel hearing
    • 15 cases heard by panel awaiting jury trial
    • 17 cases that panel was waived and not yet resolved.

Total cases heard by panel: 33 in 50.5 days
    • 28 cases heard during fiscal year 2008 in 43.5 days
    • Mean time filing to panel hearing 560 days

Total cases resolved: 89
    • 66 cases prior to panel, including: settled, voluntary non-suit, dismissed and no service.
    • 14 cases resolved after panel hearing and prior to jury trial.
    • 5 cases resolved after panel hearing waived (Note: All 5 cases settled prior to jury trial.)
    • 4 cases resolved by jury



September 30, 2008 Report Screening Panels for Medical Injury Claims
RSA 519-B
(Note: Total cases below are as of 8/31/2008)

Fiscal years
2006
2007
2008
Number of cases filed:
54
82
54
Mean time filing to disposition:
-
324 days
494 days
Median time filing to disposition:
-
410 days
518 days
Number of cases resolved prior to panel hearing:
5
25
27
         Average amount of settlement:
unknown
  unknown   unknown
Number of cases resolved by jury trial
0
0
4
         Average amount of settlement
unknown
unknown
unknown


If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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