Miner v. Tarkington
A written opinion from a board-certified doctor may be insufficient to comply with a statutory requirement that a "similar healthcare provider" furnish a written opinion about whether the defendant was negligent, if the defendant is a physician's assistant. In 2010, the defendant, a physician's assistant, allegedly prescribed medicine to the plaintiff's decedent, who had complained about knee pain. The plaintiff's decedent allegedly passed away as a result of an overdose. The plaintiff sued the physician's assistant and a doctor and provided the written opinion of a doctor who is board-certified in family medicine and who opined that the defendants were negligent. The physician's assistant moved to dismiss and argued that the plaintiff's written opinion was not adequate, because the author was not trained and experienced as a physician's assistant. Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a(a) requires that medical-malpractice plaintiffs provide a written opinion from a "similar healthcare provider" that the defendant was negligent. The statute provides, "To show the existence of such good faith, the claimant or the claimant's attorney . . . shall obtain a written and signed opinion of a similar health care provider, as defined in section 52-184c . . . that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence." The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's medical-malpractice count with respect to the physician's assistant. "The only letter submitted by the plaintiff," wrote the court, "was written by a board certified physician without any training or education as a physician assistant."