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Court dismisses claim against Physician Assistant because injury victim served notice on employer and supervisor but not P.A.

Patrick Griesbach's mom sued Robert Ross, PA-C, on behalf of Patrick, after Ross allegedly mis-diagnosed Patrick at the Walled Lake Medical Center, causing the child to suffer severe, permanent deterioration of his femur and hip.  The Griesbachs served the mandatory malpractice Notice of Intent to Sue on the Walled Lake clinic and Ross's supervising physician, but it did not serve a copy on Ross initially:  it is not clear if they even knew that they had seen a P.A., originally.

When the clinic's insurer refused to negotiate with the Griesbachs, they sued the Medical Center and the supervising physician, and the insurer filed a formal pleading blaming their own P.A. for Patrick's injury. The purpose of this Notice, if effective, was to deny the victim's recovery against the Defendants to the extent the third-party is responsible:  most attorneys question its use to "blame" a defendant's own employee-agent.

In any event,  the Griesbach family then sued Ross, however, his insurer (the same insurer) now argued that the case against Ross should be dismissed because Ross wasn't personally served with a Notice of Intent within the statutory deadline.  The trial court agreed and dismissed the family's claim against Ross. 

The Court of Appeals panel, including Judge Richard Bandstra, Judge Kirsten Kelly [reportedly the Governor's first choice for the Supreme Court] and Judge Donald Owens upheld the dismissal of the family's case after remand from the Supreme Court.  They concluded that giving the Notice to the employer and supervising doctor did not satisfy the notice requirement for the PA.   In Michigan, "tort reform" has devolved into an archaic system of deadlines, procedural traps, and semantic requirements and arguments that is totally devoid of common sense and completely irrelevant to justice.  People shouldn't need to hire an attorney the day after a catastrophic injury in order to preserve their right to fair compensation from an insurer.

This week the Court decided to publish the opinion it had released in December.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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