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PA Court Permits Update In Language Used In Medical Malpractice Laws

Posted On Behalf of Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers on May 15, 2012 in General

Following is the link to the recent memorandum decision of the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Ramos v. Quien, 09D0403P (E.D. Pa. April 2, 2009, Baylson, J.)

The court allowed an amendment to Mr. Ramos’ Complaint, when his medical malpractice lawsuit may have been affected by a language barrier and poor drafting of the original Complaint by his attorney. The language barrier may have slowed his discovery of the medical error, thereby tolling the statute of limitations. The court determined the Defendant doctor was not prejudiced, because his Answer to the Complaint raised a defense based on the statute of limitations.

Mr. Ramos’ lawyer filed a Complaint in November 2007. He then filed an Amended Complaint which alleged he did not become aware that he had cancer until November 2005. After Defendant’s Answer and New Matter alleged the statute had run before the action was put into suit, Plaintiff replied that the discovery rule tolled the statute of limitations until November of 2005, when he discovered he had cancer. The court found allegations in the original Complaint and the Amended Complaint to be very similar. Though there was evidence which showed Mr. Ramos may have known of his cancer before November 2005, what weight should be given the evidence was not to be determined as a matter of law. His original Complaint alleged he did not know about the cancer in January, 2006.

Where the defendant recognized a statute of limitations defense, and preserved it in their Answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint, there is no prejudice in allowing an amendment which clarifies an allegation which was already in the original Complaint.


D. Joseph Chapman
Attorney at Law jchapman@Schmidt 717-232-6300