Firm on behalf of physician obtains dismissal of medical malpractice complaint due to lack of service of process

BOSTON (March 16, 2011) – The firm recently persuaded a federal court judge in Massachusetts to reaffirm the dismissal of a wrongful death complaint against an Irish physician after the plaintiff failed to serve the complaint on the doctor despite numerous extensions of the deadline to complete service of process.

The firm’s client, a citizen and permanent resident of Ireland, had returned to his homeland after working at a medical center in Massachusetts. The plaintiff properly served the two other defendant physicians in the medical malpractice case.

The Hague Service Convention governs service of process on foreign citizens. Under the Convention, each signatory state (such as Ireland) designates a central authority to accept requests for service of process within the country.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns reaffirmed his prior order dismissing the complaint against the firm’s client, and also reaffirmed his prior entry of separate and final judgment. The plaintiff had appealed the original dismissal ruling to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which subsequently remanded the appeal for more detailed written findings on why a separate and final judgment was appropriate.

Stearns noted in his ruling that the plaintiff had provided no explanation or established “good cause” for the more than 15-month delay in completing service. The judge also determined that his order disposes of all claims against the firm’s client, and that there is no reason to delay the plaintiff’s appeal of the dismissal order because it’s in the interest of all parties to have the appeal resolved.

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work for three consecutive years (2008-2010).