Demars v. Slevinsky
A plaintiff in a medical-malpractice suit may amend a written opinion about whether the defendant was negligent, to add information about the credentials of the writer. In April 2010, the plaintiff, Richard Demars, underwent an amputation below the left knee. While undergoing physical therapy, the immobilizer on the plaintiff's knee allegedly became loose and entangled with his walker, causing the plaintiff to fall. The plaintiff sued his physical therapist, Roman Slevinsky, and Regency Heights of Danielson LLC, alleging that they were negligent. The defendants moved to dismiss and argued that the written opinion that accompanied the plaintiff's complaint was insufficient, because it failed to indicate the writer's medical specialty. The plaintiff objected that Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a does not require that the written opinion discuss the medical specialty of the writer. The plaintiff also requested the court's permission to amend the medical-malpractice complaint, to supplement the written opinion with information about the writer's credentials. In Cavanaugh v. Sherberg, a 2012 decision, Superior Court Judge Fischer wrote, "If the Appellate Court has given a trial court the authority to allow a plaintiff to amend the complaint to add an opinion letter, it seems reasonable that the court should consider an affidavit that explains the existing opinion letter." Connecticut has a strong policy in favor of resolution of disputes on the merits. The writer of the written opinion is an adjunct professor at Temple University Physical Therapy School who possesses a master's degree and a doctorate in physical therapy. The court found that the opinion writer qualified as a "similar healthcare provider," pursuant to C.G.S. §52-184c, and it denied the defendants' motion to dismiss.