There are thousands of cases filed in Florida courts each month. In fact, so many cases are filed in Florida that the system would get bogged down if each case resulted in a jury trial. To help whittle down the number of cases that ultimately go to trial, Florida courts have enacted a series of procedural rules to ensure that only the most diligent plaintiffs and most meritorious cases are allowed to proceed to trial.
Depending on the type of case and the named defendants, there may be dozens of applicable rules that must be strictly followed. A plaintiff’s failure to follow these rules can result in the court refusing to hear the case until the violation is remedied. In some cases, a court will dismiss a plaintiff’s case outright, preventing the accident victim from obtaining relief. A recent opinion from an Ohio appellate court illustrates how an unknowing plaintiff can end up violating court rules despite the best of intentions.
Davis v. Blaylock: The Facts
Davis’ father passed away while at a local medical center. At the time of his death, Davis’ father was being treated by several doctors. Davis believed that her father’s death was caused by the negligence of the doctors who were caring for him. In hopes of seeking compensation for her loss, she filed a series of wrongful death lawsuits.
First, Davis filed a lawsuit against one doctor. Two weeks later, she filed another lawsuit against a different doctor. On the same day, Davis filed a third lawsuit, naming the medical center where her father died as a defendant. Finally, three weeks later, Davis filed another lawsuit against the medical center, making similar claims. In all, Davis filed four wrongful death lawsuits, all based on the same incident: the death of her father.
Under Ohio state law, only one wrongful death lawsuit can be pending at a time. Thus, when the defendants in the second, third, and fourth cases asked the court to dismiss the cases against them, the court agreed. In response, Davis explained that based on her reading of the statute of limitations, she was required to file the cases the way she did. However, the court explained that Davis’ reading of the statutes was incorrect, and she did not need to – and should not have – filed separate cases.
Davis asked the court to allow her to consolidate her cases, rather than dismiss them. However, the court took the law very literally, holding that the subsequently filed cases were of “no effect,” and thus, there was nothing to consolidate. As a result, Davis’ second, third, and fourth cases were dismissed. The opinion does not mention whether Davis will be allowed to amend her original complaint to include the additional defendants and claims.
Have You Been a Victim of Another Party’s Negligence?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of medical malpractice or some other form of professional negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is very important that you follow all of the rules and procedures in the filing of your case. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Cecere Santana have experience successfully handling thousands of cases for our clients, and we know how to efficiently and effectively bring cases to trial in South Florida and across the state. Call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Cecere Santana Joins Operation Elf to Collect Toys for Families in Need, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 2, 2016.
Claims Against Florida Public Entities Are Subject to Strict Notice Requirements, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 2, 2017.