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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maybe it won't be that bad after all.... Medical malpractice con't

All I had to work with were my parent's depositions, written statements that Kate had asked me to have them write, and my medical records. Other than that I had nothing.

I tried to find an attorney to take the case.

Each said essentially the same thing: "I will sue your lawyer but she has made such a mess of the malpractice case I am not willing to get involved."

Kate had children. I did not want to hurt them, I thought they would be financially injured if I sued her. I expressed this to some of the lawyers. Another issue of 'you don't know what you don't know'. They replied "It won't affect her children.". I had no understanding of how malpractice insurance worked and no one explained it to me. I could not understand how it could not hurt the kids. I chose not to sue her.

To this day I feel I did the right thing with the information I then had. Of course, had I known then what I know now I would have sued her. Her not knowing the first case had been thrown out of court was malpractice all on it's own.

The first thing I needed to do was write up a list of questions, called interrogatories. The other side had 30 days in which to answer them.

Because of the pain I waited months for the answers. If I did not have to read them and do more legal research so I could go to the next step I did not have to use my eyes. This was not something where I could do my usual skimming. I had to concentrate, read each and every word, many times, to make sure I understood each and every nuance. Finally I had no choice. The other side had to know I was serious about pursuing the case. That meant asking the court to put sanctions in place if no answers were forthcoming within a certain period of time.

I had to go to Pittsburgh to do this in person.

I arrived at the courthouse and found the room where this would happen.

I thought we would be in a courtroom but instead it was a regular room with the Judge sitting upfront. A number of people were sitting in groups of twos and threes, talking, reading newspapers or, I assumed, legal documents.
I was the only one sitting alone.

A young man came over to me. He asked if I was Ms. Levy. "I'm Ed Olszewski. I'm opposing counsel in your case." He was a nice looking guy, dressed in a nice suit. He did not look fearsome.

We shook hands then sat, not really talking much to each other once the pleasantries were out of the way.

Soon the session started and people got up and stood in line, in pairs, to talk with the judge.

Ed and I were next. I looked at him. I am not sure if the abject fear was visible in my eyes.

"Umm. Who is supposed to talk first?" I asked him. He smiled. "I'll go first."

We were now before the judge. "Your honor, Ms. Levy would like to have sanctions put in place against us if we do not answer her interrogatories within 30 days."

Judge Smith (pseudonym) looked very surprised. "Are you sure you want to do that?" Ed looked over at me and back at the judge. "Oh yes, Your Honor, that's fine." "Okay. If Ms. Levy does not receive replies within 30 days sanctions will be placed against you."

Well, I thought, breathing a sign of relief, maybe this won't be as bad as I thought.

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