Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Washington Supreme Court Deems 90 Day Notice of Intent to Sue Unconstitutional

In 2006, the Washington State Legislature passed two laws restricting the rights of persons injured byhealth care providermalpractice. Thefirst provision required a plaintiff to send a written "90 day notice of intent to sue" toeveryhealth care provider he or she intended to sue. A medical malpractice case could not be filed until the 90 days lapsed. Besides the extra expense and time associated with this requirement, ifa person sent the90 day notice within 90 days of the running of thestatute of limitations,he or shewould practically have to sleep on the court house steps to file the complaintafter the required90 days passed. The second provision required that a certificate of merit be includedwith any complaint for health care provider malpractice. For the certificate of merit to be valid, the health care provider signing it had to practice within the same specialty as the health care provider being sued. Several months ago, the Washington Supreme Court held that the certificate or merit requirement was unconstitutional. On July 1, 2010, the Supreme Court determined that the 90 days notice requirement is also unconstitutional. Waples v. Yi,Nos 82973-0 & 82124-9.

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