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

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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.

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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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Published In: Health Updates