Subchapter 4-A: MANDATORY PRELITIGATION SCREENING AND MEDIATION PANELS
§2853. Submission of claims
1.Notice of claim.
A person may commence an action for professional negligence by:
A. Serving a written notice of claim, setting forth, under oath, the professional negligence
alleged and the nature and circumstances of the injuries and damages alleged, on the
person accused of professional negligence. The notice of claim must be filed with
the Superior Court within 20 days after completion of service; or [1991, c. 505, §1 (NEW).]
B. Filing a written notice of claim, setting forth, under oath, the professional negligence
alleged and the nature and circumstances of the injuries and damages alleged, with
the Superior Court. The claimant must serve the notice of claim on the person accused
of professional negligence. The return of service must be filed with the court within
90 days after filing the notice of claim. [1991, c. 505, §1 (NEW).]
Service must be made in accordance with the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4.
1991, c. 505, §1 (RPR)
The notice of claim and all other documents filed with the court in the action for
professional negligence during the prelitigation screening process are confidential.
1991, c. 505, §2 (NEW)
At the time of filing notice of claim with the court, the claimant shall pay to
the clerk a filing fee of $200 per notice filed.
1991, c. 505, §2 (NEW)
2.Appearance; filing fee.
Within 20 days of receipt of notice of service upon the clerk, the person or persons
accused of professional negligence in the notice or his representative shall file
an appearance before the panel with a copy to the claimant. At the time of filing
an appearance, the person or persons accused of professional negligence in the notice
shall each pay a filing fee of $200 per notice filed.
1985, c. 804, §§12, 22 (NEW)
Any party may, at the time of filing, apply to the chair of the panel for a waiver
of the filing fee. The chair shall grant the waiver if:
A. The party is indigent.
(1) In determining indigency of the party, the chair shall consider the factors
contained in the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 44(b); [1989, c. 361, §§5, 10 (NEW).]
B. The party is or was an employee of another party and that other party stipulates
that the employee at the time of the claimed injury was acting in the course and scope
of employment with that other party; or [1989, c. 361, §§5, 10 (NEW).]
C. The waiver is necessary to avoid requiring an individual who is a party to the case
from paying 2 or more filing fees because a professional association or other business
entity of which the individual is a member is also named as a party and has substantially
the same interests as the individual in the case. [1989, c. 361, §§5, 10 (NEW).]
1989, c. 361, §§5, 10 (RPR)
4.Filing of records; time for hearing; extensions.
Within 20 days of entry of appearance, the person or persons accused shall contact
the claimant's counsel and by agreement shall designate a timetable for filing all
the relevant medical and provider records necessary to a determination of the panel
and for completing discovery. If the parties are unable to agree on a timetable within
60 days of the entry of appearance, the claimant shall notify the chair of the panel.
The chair shall then establish a timetable for the filing of all relevant records
and reasonable discovery, which must be filed at least 30 days before any hearing
date. Depositions of persons other than the parties and the experts designated by
the parties may not be taken except as permitted by the chair upon the request of
a party. The hearing may not be later than 6 months from the service of the notice
of claim upon the clerk, except when the time period has been extended by the panel
chair in accordance with this subchapter.
1999, c. 523, §1 (AMD);
1999, c. 523, §5 (AFF)
The pretrial screening may be bypassed if all parties agree upon a resolution of
the claim by lawsuit. All parties to a claim may, by written agreement, submit a
claim to the binding determination of the panel, either prior to or after the commencement
of a lawsuit. Both parties may agree to bypass the panel and commence a lawsuit for
any reason, or may request that certain preliminary legal affirmative defenses or
issues be litigated prior to submission of the case to the panel. The panel has no
jurisdiction to hear or decide, absent the agreement of the parties, dispositive legal
affirmative defenses, and comparative negligence. The panel chair may require the
parties to litigate, by motion, dispositive legal affirmative defenses in the Superior
Court prior to submission of the case to the panel. Any such defense, as well as
any motion relating to discovery that the panel chair has chosen not to rule on may
be presented, by motion, in Superior Court without the necessity of a complaint having
first been filed.
1999, c. 668, §102 (AMD)
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, there shall be one combined hearing
or hearings for all claims under this section arising out of the same set of facts.
Where there is more than one person accused of professional negligence against whom
a notice of claim has been filed based on the same facts, the parties may, upon agreement
of all parties, require that hearings be separated. The chairman may, for good cause,
order separate hearings.
1985, c. 804, §§12, 22 (NEW)
7.Extensions of time.
All requests for extension of time under this subchapter must be made to the panel
chair. The chair may extend any time period under this subchapter for good cause,
except that the chair may not extend any time period that would result in the hearing
being held more than one year from the filing of notice of claim upon the clerk unless
good cause is shown.
1991, c. 505, §4 (AMD)
Cases pending before the panels may be dismissed as follows.
A. Voluntary dismissal will be governed as follows.
(1) Any action before the panel may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a notice
of dismissal at any time prior to the appointment of the panel or by filing a stipulation
of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. Unless otherwise
stated in the notice of dismissal, stipulation or order, the dismissal is without
(2) Except as provided in subparagraph (1), an action shall not be dismissed on
the plaintiff's motion except on order of the chair of the panel and on terms and
conditions the chair deems proper. [1989, c. 827, §3 (NEW).]
B. Involuntary dismissal is governed as follows.
(1) On failure of the plaintiff to prosecute or to comply with rules or any order
of the chair, and on motion by the chair or any party, after notice to all parties
has been given and the party against whom sanctions are proposed has had the opportunity
to be heard and show good cause, the chair may order appropriate sanctions, which
may include dismissal of the case. If any sanctions are imposed, the chair shall
state the sanctions in writing and include the grounds for the sanctions.
(2) Unless the chair or the panel in an order for dismissal specifies otherwise,
a dismissal under this paragraph is with prejudice for purposes of proceedings before
the panel. A dismissal with prejudice is deemed to be the equivalent of a finding
for the defendant on all issues before the panel. [1991, c. 130, §3 (RPR).]
1989, c. 130, §3 (AMD)
In addition to the sanctions set out in subsection 8, paragraph B, the following
sanctions may be imposed against a defendant in a case pending before the panel.
A. On failure of a defendant to comply with the rules or any order of the chair, and
on motion by the chair or any party, after notice to all parties has been given and
the party against whom sanctions are proposed has had the opportunity to be heard
and show good cause, the chair may order appropriate sanctions, which may include
default. If any sanctions are imposed, the chair shall state the sanctions in writing
and include the grounds for the sanctions. [1991, c. 130, §4 (NEW).]
B. Unless the chair or the panel in its order for default specifies otherwise, a default
under this paragraph is deemed to be the equivalent of a finding against the defendant
on all issues before the panel. [1991, c. 130, §4 (NEW).]
1991, c. 130, §4 (NEW)
1985, c. 804, §§12,22 (NEW).
1989, c. 361, §§4-6,10 (AMD).
1989, c. 827, §§1-3 (AMD).
1991, c. 130, §§3,4 (AMD).
1991, c. 505, §§1-4 (AMD).
1995, c. 571, §1 (AMD).
1999, c. 523, §1 (AMD).
1999, c. 668, §102 (AMD).
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