Personal Representative cannot pursue malpractice-wrongful death claim without a lawyer
Brenda White attempted to sue a number of doctors and heath care providers for malpractice after her mother's death. She filed a lawsuit before she became the Personal Representative of the Estate, but after the statute of limitations had run. She did not file the Notice of Intent to Sue or the Affidavits of Merit required by various malpractice "reform" statutes, and she did not retain an attorney. The trial judge dismissed her claim and the Court of Appeals affirmed. It held that her case was properly dismissed because it did not conform with pleading rules, was not timely and was not brought by the proper person. The Court also noted that a Personal Representative who is not a licensed lawyer cannot act "in propria persona" as that right--to act as one's own counsel--is reserved to natural persons.