A district court judge mentioned to me yesterday that our Supreme Court was asking for statistics on how quickly medical malpractice cases were taking to get to trial.
Here are a few personal observations.
First, the Vegas backlog is not the Reno backlog. There is not a court-caused backlog in Reno (or in Northern Nevada) of which I am aware.
We do have a related problem, though, and that has to do with defense attorneys who will not set cases within a reasonable period (12-14 months, for instance).
There’s a simple solution to this problem:
NRS 41A.061 states as follows:
Dismissal of action for failure to bring to trial; effect of dismissal; adoption of court rules to expedite resolution of actions.
1. Upon the motion of any party or upon its own motion, unless good cause is shown for the delay, the court shall, after due notice to the parties, dismiss an action involving medical malpractice or dental malpractice if the action is not brought to trial within:
(a) Three years after the date on which the action is filed, if the action is filed on or after October 1, 2002, but before October 1, 2005.
(b) Two years after the date on which the action is filed, if the action is filed on or after October 1, 2005.
2. Dismissal of an action pursuant to subsection 1 is a bar to the filing of another action upon the same claim for relief against the same defendants.
3. Each district court shall adopt court rules to expedite the resolution of an action involving medical malpractice or dental malpractice.
Nevada plaintiffs should not be left to the whims of a defense attorney’s preferences when it comes to scheduling. Similarly, plaintiff’s attorneys should not have to argue for a fair setting in every case. Rather, district court judges should require the parties to set within a reasonable number of months based upon the court’s calendar and the court’s availability.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.