Nichols v. The Milford Pediatric Group, P.C.
A plaintiff's failure to comply with the requirements of Connecticut General Statutes §52-109a(a) and attach a good faith certificate to a medical malpractice complaint and a written letter from a similar health care provider, results in a defect in process that implicates the personal jurisdiction of the court. Michael Nichols brought suit against The Milford Pediatric group, P.C., alleging, essentially, that while a patient of the defendant obtaining a physical examination, he fainted sitting upright on the examination table when a medical assistant employed by the defendant began collecting his blood. He fell, face first onto the floor, damaging teeth and a tooth punctured his lip. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of an attached good faith certificate or letter from a similar health care provider in accordance with C.G.S. §52-190a(a). The plaintiff objected, arguing that C.G.S. §52-190a(a) did not apply because his action sounded in ordinary negligence not medical malpractice. The plaintiff, granted leave, filed an amended complaint with one count captioned "negligent supervision" and a second invoking the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss for the plaintiff's failure to comply with C.G.S. §52-109a(a). The plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The plaintiff was required to comply with C.G.S. §52-190a. Based on the three part test from the 2001 Appellate Court case of Trimel v. Lawrence & Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center, the trial court properly characterized the complaint as a medical malpractice claim. The plaintiff conceded Trimel's first prong that the defendant was sued in its capacity as a professional medical service provider. For the second prong, the plaintiff's claim was rejected that the blood collection was not of a specialized medical nature that arose out of a medical professional-patient relationship. Analyzing the final prong, the Appellate Court concluded that a physical examination is related to the medical diagnosis and treatment of a patient and any alleged negligence in the conducting of such an examination is substantially related to medical diagnosis or treatment. Issues including whether the defendant sufficiently trained its employee to ensure that blood collection was completed in a safe manner clearly involved the exercise of medical knowledge and judgment.