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Presuit Notice to Dr. is Sufficient to Impute Knowledge to Hospital Where a Legal Relationship Exists

April 30, 2012
Bonnie Navin

NOTICE IS NOTICE, don’t ignore the words “Agents, Employees, and Apparent Agents”:
The intended Plaintiff sent presuit notice of intent to sue to the physician and his group alleging malpractice by this doctor and his group while caring for the Plaintiff at the hospital. Such notice included the doctors “agents, employees, and apparent agents”. Presuit was denied by the Intended Defendants. Later Plaintiff prepared her complaint alleging vicarious responsibility of the Hospital for the actions of the physician as the entities were a joint venture, to which the hospital moved for, and was granted, a dismissal for Plaintiff failure to presuit the hospital. The Third District Court of Appeal, in April 2011, reversed noting that dismissal was premature because presuit notice to the doctor was sufficient to impute notice to the hospital. Under the complaint and the joint venture agreement, Plaintiff demonstrated a legal relationship between the doctor and hospital.
Citing the Florida Supreme Court’s holding in Kukral v. Mekras, 679 So. 2d 278 (Fla. 1996) and followed by Arch Plaza, Inc. v. Perpall, 947 So.22d 476 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007), “Florida courts have consistently construed the medical malpractice pre-suit statutory scheme ‘liberally so as not to unduly restrict a Florida citizen’s constitutionally guaranteed access to the courts’.”
Melissa Ann King v. Baptist Hospital of Miami, Inc. et al, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D830 (3rd DCA, April 11, 2011)