Ten minute teaser - test your knowledge of the early stages of litigation

Julie Charltonsets outaquick brainteaser on variousaspects of managing claims,for when you have a spare 10 minutes.</DIV>

01/12/2011

Julie Charlton

Julie Charlton

Partner

Mr Kidd (date of birth 9 January 1955) attended Calamity Hospital NHS Trust at 02.00 hrs on 2 February 2008 complaining of chest pains. Following an examination by Dr Holiday he was discharged at 08.00 hrs with a diagnosis of indigestion. Mr Kidd attended again on 4 February 2008 and whilst in the waiting room of the Accident and Emergency Department he suffered a myocardial infarction and died on the same date. A Serious Untoward Investigation report (‘SUI’) dated 10 April 2008 concluded that there was a failure to provide Mr Kidd with clot busting drugs and if these had been given by 14.00 hrs on 3 February 2008, on the balance of probabilities he would have survived. Calamity Hospital sent a copy of the report to Mr Kidd’s widow, Mrs Kidd on 21 May 2009.

Mrs Kidd on receiving the report went to see Cowboy & Co Solicitors on 28 May 2009 who agreed to take on Mrs Kidd’s case and entered into a CFA with a 100% success fee that day. Cowboy & Co requested copies of Mr Kidd’s medical records on 9 June 2009, which were duly sent by Calamity Hospital. A Letter of Claim was eventually sent to Calamity Hospital and received on 11 November 2010 requesting a response within 28 days because the Claimant, Mrs Kidd wanted to serve proceedings as soon as possible and preferably before Christmas.

The Letter of Claim alleged that Mr Kidd should have been admitted to Calamity Hospital for a period of observation. He should have undergone an exercise tolerance test and an ECG should have been performed. If this had been done then abnormalities would have been recognised and Mr Kidd would have been administered clot busting drugs within 8 hours of attending Calamity Hospital. He would have avoided a myocardial infarction. Mrs Kidd intended to make a claim under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. She would be seeking a bereavement award, recovery of funeral expenses and making a significant dependency claim as Mr Kidd ran a successful gold smelting business. The Letter of Claim requested details of Dr Holiday’s qualifications, a copy of his personnel records and details of any other claims that had been made against the Trust which he had been involved in.

The Trust was served on 10 December 2010 with a Claim Form issued on 7 December 2010. The Defendants were cited as Calamity Hospital NHS Trust and Mr Kidd’s G.P, Dr Earpp. On 21 January 2011 Cowboy & Co served proceedings on the Trust. They sent a further copy of the Claim Form, Particulars of Claim and a response pack. The Particulars of Claim made allegations not previously seen by the Trust including allegations against Dr Earpp. It was alleged that Mr Kidd’s G.P Dr Earpp saw him 3 times during the week before he attended the Trust with chest pains and he should have referred him to hospital after attendance at the G.P surgery.

Questions

  1. The Claimant will have 3 years to bring a claim.  When does the 3 year limitation period commence?
  2. By which date should the Trust have disclosed Mr Kidd’s medical records?
  3. On what date is Calamity Hospital’s Letter of Response due?
  4. The Defendant must serve an acknowledgment of service following service of a Claim Form. True or False?
  5. The date of deemed service of the Particulars of Claim can include a Saturday or Sunday True or False?
  6. Following issue of the Claim Form what was the latest date by which Mrs Kidd could have served it?
  7. The Claimant has omitted to serve 2 documents with her proceedings – what are they?
  8. The Defendant has 28 days following service of proceedings to file and serve a defence. The parties can agree an extension of time following this period without the need for a consent order and approval of the court – how long is this period and for a bonus point which part of the Civil Procedure Rules allows this?
  9. Mrs Kidd has made specific requests for disclosure. Should the Trust disclose (1) Dr Holiday’s personnel records and (2) details of any other claims against the Trust in which Dr Holiday is involved?
  10. The Claimant is obliged to inform you that a claim is also being made against another defendant in the pre action protocol period True of False?

 

 

Answers:

1 4 February 2008, the date of Mr Kidd’s death (barring any arguments over late date of knowledge).

2 By 20 July 2009, within 40 days of request.

3 4 months from date of receipt of Letter of Claim so 11 March 2011.

4 False, there is no need to serve an acknowledgment of service until service of the Particulars of Claim.

5 False.

6 7 April 2011.

7 Notice of funding and Counter Schedule – no need to serve a condition and prognosis report because Mr Kidd is dead.

8 Up to 28 days under CPR Part 15.5.

9 Neither should be disclosed without the consent of Dr Holiday but before seeking this, we would ask for good justification from the Claimant as to why there are necessary for the purpose of the claim.

10 False.

 

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