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Court examines impact of early filing of malpractice claim

The medical malpractice rules require an injury victim to file a Notice of Intent, explaining to the health care providers precisely why and how the victim believes he was mis-treated.  The alleged victim must then delay six months before filing suit against the health care providers.  In Sheila Ellout v. Detroit Medical Center, Ellout's attorneys apparently mis-read the complicated pleading rules and filed suit against the allegedly responsible nurse before the appropriate time period had run.  The Ellout's death claim was then dismissed with prejudice (meaning the decision was a final decision on the merits) by the lower court. 

On appeal, two of the appellate judges reversed this outcome, making the dismissal "without prejudice."  The panel concluded that filing several weeks early was a minor error and comparable to filing a defective Notice which therefore should not result in the harshest penalty--permanent dismissal.

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