Opper v. Shelton Dental Group
In Lucisano v. Bisson, a 2011 decision, the Connecticut Appellate Court wrote, "The only plausible application of the plain language of §§52-190a and 52-184c requires disclosure of qualifications in the opinion letter." The plaintiff, Jane Opper, sued the defendant, Shelton Dental Group, and Vipul Patel, alleging that they were negligent, and attached a written medical opinion, which was signed "D.M.D." The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on Aug. 22, 2011 that separated the allegations against each defendant. The defendants moved to dismiss and argued that the plaintiff failed to comply with Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a. On Sept. 16, 2011, the plaintiff filed an objection, an amended complaint and a copy of the written medical opinion, along with the opinion writer's resume. The court considered the August 22 complaint to be the operative complaint, for purposes of ruling on whether the author of the written medical opinion qualified as a "similar health care provider." The court did not consider the written opinion and opinion writer's resume that were filed on September 16, which was after the defendants filed the motion to dismiss. "[D]ismissal is the mandatory remedy when a plaintiff fails to file an opinion letter that complies with §52-190a(a)," pursuant to Bennet v. New Milford Hospital, a 2011 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. In Bell v. Hospital of St. Raphael, a 2012 decision, the Connecticut Appellate Court held that the initials "RN, BSN, ICP" were insufficient, because they only disclosed that the medical opinion writer was a registered nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing, and failed to disclose whether the medical opinion writer was actively involved in the practice or teaching of medicine within the five years that preceded the alleged incident of medical malpractice. Here, the court found that the signature "D.M.D." was insufficient to indicate whether the medical opinion writer had been practicing or teaching medicine within the five previous years and qualified as a "similar health care provider." The court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiff's negligence claim.