Tim Grady is a trial lawyer with considerable experience through all phases of civil litigation from the initial evaluation of a case through discovery, trial, and jury verdict. His practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice defense of physicians, nurses and allied health care professionals, as well as health care agencies and institutions.
In addition, Tim's practice includes general tort litigation involving catastrophic injury and complex medical issues.
Tim also regularly represents physicians, nurses and other health care professionals in licensure defense matters before the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Tim is a registered nurse and, prior to joining Halloran & Sage, he was a supervisor and trauma coordinator in the emergency department of a large Connecticut university teaching hospital where he facilitated the provision of services and communication between emergency department personnel, pre-hospital providers, law enforcement, hospital administration and patients' families.
Developments in Case Law Pertaining to the Certificate of Good Faith - Opinion of a Similar Health Care Provider under Connecticut General Statute 52-190a
Medical Malpractice Law Update, 09/01/2009
In 1987, by enacting Connecticut General Statute 52-190a our legislature sought to discourage the filing of baseless lawsuits against health care providers, by requiring the plaintiff to conduct a precomplaint inquiry into whether there is a good faith basis to bring an action against the defendant. The plaintiff is required to attach to the complaint a good faith certificate signed by the attorney filing the action certifying that they have made a reasonable inquiry, which gave rise to a good faith belief that grounds exist for an action against each named defendant.
In 2005, the Connecticut legislature significantly amended the requirements for bringing a medical malpractice action. To show the existence of a good faith basis for bringing suit, the plaintiff is required to first obtain a written opinion from a health care provider of the same specialty as the defendant, which states that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence and includes a detailed basis for the formation of such opinion. In addition, the plaintiff must attach a copy of the opinion, with the name and signature of the health care provider redacted, to the complaint. Finally, the statute provides that a plaintiff's failure to obtain and file the written opinion of a similar health care provider along with the complaint shall be grounds for dismissal of the action.
Since its enactment, there has been a great deal of motion practice over the meaning of the physician's opinion requirement. Superior Court decisions created several splits of authority on a number of questions regarding the opinion letter, including: whether failure to file a physician's opinion deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction; whether failure to attach an opinion could be cured by an amended complaint; whether the opinion, in addition to addressing the standard of care, needs to address causation; whether a provider from an unrelated specialty could provide an opinion; and the sufficiency of opinion letters.
The Connecticut Supreme Court recently settled one split of authority regarding whether the opinion letter needed to include an opinion on causation. In Dias v. Grady, 292 Conn. 350 (2009)the Court held that the phrase medical negligence, as used in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-190a(a), means a breach of the standard of care, and as such was not intended to encompass all of the elements of a cause of action for negligence. The Court reasoned that although a similar health care provider would be qualified to provide an opinion regarding the applicable standard of care, there are many situations in which one would not be qualified to express an opinion as to causation.
In 2008, the Appellate Court in Rios v. CCMC Corp., 106 Conn.App. 822 (2008), clarified the defendant's remedy when a plaintiff fails to attach an opinion letter to the complaint. The Court recognized that the subsection, added by the legislature in 2005, expressly provides for dismissal of an action when a plaintiff fails to attach a written opinion of a similar health care provider to the complaint.
Prior to the Rios decision, several plaintiffs successfully argued that because the lack of a good faith certificate is not a jurisdictional defect depriving the court of subject matter jurisdiction over the case, dismissal was improper. By pointing out that there are both statutory and Practice Book provisions that provide for dismissals on the basis of nonjurisdictional grounds, the Rios Court dispensed with that argument.
Recently, in Votre v. County Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, P.C, 113 Conn.App.585 (2009), the Appellate Court clarified the grounds for a dismissal under the statute, recognizing that the statute creates a nonjurisdictional basis for dismissal of an action. A plaintiff's failure to comply with the requirements of 52-190a(a) does not destroy the court's power to hear a medical malpractice action. The Court recognized that dismissal pursuant to 52-190a(c) is a statutorily created remedy available to a defendant in an action in which the required written opinion is not attached to the complaint.
Prior to the Votre decision several plaintiffs argued successfully that they should be allowed to cure the defect of failing to attach an opinion letter to the complaint by filing an amended complaint. The Votre Court made it clear that since the purpose of 52-190a is to require that the opinion be obtained beforethe filing of a lawsuit, allowing a plaintiff to obtain an opinion after the suit has already been filed would vitiate the statute's purpose by subjecting a defendant to a claim without the proper substantiation that the statute requires. The Court did allow that if the plaintiff had obtained an opinion from a similar healthcare provider prior to filing the complaint and inadvertently failed to attach it to the complaint at the time it was filed, the defect could be cured. The Court emphasized, however, that this was only so provided the opinion had indeed been obtained prior to the filing of the complaint.
Recently, the Court granted a motion to dismiss a case which we filed on behalf of a pain management specialist. The plaintiff initially failed to attach any physician's opinion letter to the complaint. Prior to arguing the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff amended the complaint and attached an IME report that was indeed obtained pre-suit. The IME physician was indeed a board certified pain specialist like our client. However, the report was generated at the request of a defendant that the same plaintiff had sued in a separate case arising from the same incident. We were successful in arguing that although the opinion was obtained pre-suit, it was not part of any pre-suit good-faith inquiry by the plaintiff regarding the care and treatment rendered by our client. In addition, although the physician who wrote the IME report indicated he would have approached the plaintiff's problem differently than our client, he did not offer the opinion that our client was negligent.
There still has been no appellate authority on the issue of whether a plaintiff may attach an opinion letter from an expert physician who is board-certified in the specialty other than that of a defendant. However, recent Superior Court decisions that have come in the wake of the aforementioned appellate decisions strongly favor a reading of the statute that would allow only physicians certified by the same specialty board as the defendant to provide an opinion letter.
News & Events
H & S Announces Admission of Five Firm Attorneys to Partnership
Halloran & Sage is pleased to announce the admission of five Firm attorneys to its partnership.
The partnership class of the following attorneys who are resident in the Firm's Hartford office are: Timothy Grady, who practices in the area of medical malpractice and also general tort litigation; Christopher McCarthy, who practices in the areas of criminal law, and civil and commercial litigation; Tracy Montalbano, whose practice involves insurance coverage and business litigation; and Steven Ryan, who practices in the area of insurance coverage litigation.
Thomas Brennan, resident in the Firm's Westport, Connecticut office was also admitted into the partnership and he practices in the area of commercial litigation.
We are very pleased to welcome these talented attorneys into our partnership. These advancements reflect our continued growth and our commitment to expanding the platform for the services we offer to our increasingly diversified client base, said William McGrath, Jr., the Firm's managing partner.Firm Attorneys Included in Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2012 List
Halloran & Sage is proud to announce that twenty-two of the Firm's attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2012 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars lists. The attorneys that have been selected are:
Henry Beck, Jr. - Business/Corporate (Hartford)
Thomas Boyce, Jr. - Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice (New London)
John Farley - Appellate (Hartford)
Stephen Fogerty - Business Litigation (Westport)
Jeffrey Gostyla: Insurance Coverage (Hartford)
Leslie Grodd: Tax (Westport)
Daniel Krisch: Appellate (Hartford)
Dan LaBelle: Civil Litigation Defense (Westport)
William McGrath, Jr.: General Litigation (Hartford)
Allen Gary Palmer: Family Law (Westport)
George Royster: Business Litigation (Hartford)
Daniel Scapellati: Insurance Coverage (Hartford)
Andrew Schaffer: Family Law (New Haven)
Kenneth Slater, Jr.: Land Use/Zoning (Hartford)
James Szerejko: Civil Litigation Defense (Hartford)
Richard Tynan: Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice (Hartford)
Joseph Arcata, III: Insurance Coverage (Hartford)
Joshua Auxier: Professional Liability: Defense (Westport)
Melanie Dykas: Government Relations (Hartford)
Timothy Grady: Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Defense (Hartford)
Brian Rich: Business Litigation (Hartford)
Michael Wrona: Bankruptcy &Creditor/Debtor (Hartford)
The Super Lawyers designation is based on regional balloting by attorneys, research conducted by Law & Politics magazine, and a peer review process that encompasses sixty different practice areas.
An explanation of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars methodology can be found here.2011 'Super Lawyers' Recognizes 20 H & S Attorneys
Halloran & Sage is pleased to announce that 13 attorneys, based out of three different Connecticut offices, were recently announced as Connecticut Super Lawyers. In addition, 7 attorneys at the firm were recognized as Rising Stars.
The Super Lawyers designation is based on regional balloting by attorneys, research conducted by Law & Politics magazine, and a peer review process that encompasses 60 different practice areas.
Henry Beck, Jr. - Business/Corporate
Thomas Boyce, Jr. - Personal Injury Defense
John Farley - Appellate
Stephen Fogerty - Business Litigation
Jeffrey Gostyla - Insurance Coverage
Leslie Grodd - Tax
Daniel Krisch - Appellate, Civil Litigation Defense, Criminal Defense
William McGrath, Jr. - General Litigation
George Royster - Business Litigation
Daniel Scapellati - Insurance Coverage
Kenneth Slater, Jr. - Land Use/Zoning
James Szerejko - Civil Litigation Defense
Richard Tynan - Personal Injury Defense
Joseph Arcata, III - Insurance Coverage
Timothy Grady - Personal Injury Defense, Medical Malpractice
Brian Rich - Business Litigation
Michael Wrona - Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights