Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When is the Expert Report Due?

Under the prior version of Chapter 74, plaintiffs were required to serve their expert reports within 120-days of filing their claim and defendants had 21 days to object. Two problems arose:

1) What if the report was served with the petition?  Because answers can be due more than 21 days later, with our Monday answer rule, defendants were sometimes required to object to the report before answering the suit.

2)  What if the defendant avoided service?  Plaintiffs were then faced with missing the deadline to serve a report because they had not yet served the defendant.

HB 658 revised CPRC 74.351(a) to address these two situations.

(a)  In a health care liability claim, a claimant shall, not later than the 120th day after the date each defendant's [the] original answer is [petition was] filed, serve on that [each] party or the party's attorney one or more expert reports, with a curriculum vitae of each expert listed in the report for each physician or health care provider against whom a liability claim is asserted.  The date for serving the report may be extended by written agreement of the affected parties.  Each defendant physician or health care provider whose conduct is implicated in a report must file and serve any objection to the sufficiency of the report not later than the later of the 21st day after the date the report is [it was] served or the 21st day after the date the defendant's answer is filed, failing which all objections are waived.

This bill took effect September 1, 2013.

You should now calendar deadlines as follows:

Petition Served:  ___________
Defendant's Answer filed: ______________
Expert Report Due:  Answer Date + 120 days
Expert Report Served: ____________
Objections Due: Report Date + 21 days or Answer date + 21 days, whichever is later.

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