Washington Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Certificate of Merit and Continues to Preclude CPA Claims in Professional Liability Cases


The Washington Supreme Court has recently issued two significant rulings impacting the Long Term Care and Seniors Housing industry:

Certificate of Merit Requirement Declared Unconstitutional

In Putnam v. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, the Washington Supreme Court recently struck down a state law that required medical malpractice plaintiffs to file a certificate of merit supporting the validity of their claims. The certificate of merit statute, passed in 2006, mandated that upon filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must also file a certificate of merit containing a statement from a qualified expert "that there is reasonable probability that the defendant's conduct did not follow the accepted standard of care required to be exercised by the defendant." RCW 7.70.150.


The Washington Supreme Court also recently reiterated that personal injury claims based on alleged professional negligence generally are not actionable under the Consumer Protection Act ("CPA"). The CPA requires a plaintiff to prove injury to his or her "business or property." Damages for personal injuries, however, are not actionable.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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