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Legal Alert

2014 Minnesota Legislative Session Update: Minnesota Legislature Modifies Timing for Expert Disclosures in Professional Negligence Cases

May 29, 2014

The Development
The Minnesota Legislature recently modified the timing of expert disclosures required in civil malpractice claims brought against physicians and other professionals including architects, engineers, attorneys, and accountants. These changes were made to Minnesota Statute § 145.682, subds. 2 and 4 (governing medical malpractice) and Minnesota Statute § 544.42, subds. 2 and 4 (governing other professional negligence claims), and became effective for all causes of action commenced on or after April 3, 2014.

How the Timing of Expert Disclosures Was Modified
Previously, these statutes required a plaintiff to file two separate disclosures in a civil malpractice action: (1) an affidavit of expert review with the summons and complaint that generally supports the malpractice claim and (2) a more thorough disclosure of the expert's opinion within 180 days of commencement of the lawsuit. These deadlines are mandatory and a plaintiff's failure to follow either of them resulted in the likely dismissal of the lawsuit. The 2014 law has changed these disclosures by lengthening the time for a plaintiff to make the second, more thorough, expert disclosure. Under the new law effective April 3, 2014, a plaintiff must now serve the second expert disclosure "within 180 days after commencement of discovery under the Rules of Civil Procedure, rule 26.04(a). . . ."

The Impact
This change benefits plaintiffs because it provides them with more time for their expert to develop and disclose his or her opinion(s). However, this timing modification may add confusion into calculating the disclosure deadline because the phrase "180 days after commencement of discovery" may be open to interpretation under the new modified Rule 26.04(a) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.

We Can Help
Maslon's Litigation Group has a proven track record of successfully handling a wide variety of complex litigation matters in several practice areas, including medical malpractice defense, product liability defense, financial services litigation, and construction and real estate litigation. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information about how the new changes to the timing of expert disclosures in Minnesota may impact your case.


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