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Turnstile certificates of merit

"Certificate of merit" laws are a popular reform proposal aimed at curbing the incidence of ill-grounded medical malpractice litigation. However, provisions of this kind vary greatly in strength, from the reasonably formidable to the hopelessly weak. In Colorado, there are proposals to strengthen the state's currently weak certificate-of-merit law. Here's a discussion in the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph (PDF format, reprinted by Colorado Civil Justice League):

At present, that process is little more than a pass-through. It allows lawyers who file malpractice claims to tell the courts they've run the merits of a case by a "professional" for prescreening even if the professional never so much as looked at the case records and isn't credentialed to second-guess the medical specialist being sued.

HB 1305 would, among other things, ensure that the plaintiff's attorney reviews the merits of his claim with someone who meets the statutory standard of "expert witness" in the field in which the malpractice claim is being alleged. The bill also would make the lawyer give the court a list of all the medical records and other evidence that the expert reviewed, and the lawyer would have to back it all up with a sworn affidavit to the judge.

More on the issue here, here, here, and here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.