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Labair v. Carey

291 P.3d 1160 (2012)

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Labair v. Carey

Montana Supreme Court

291 P.3d 1160 (2012)

Facts

Holly and Robert Labair (the Labairs) (plaintiffs) lost a newborn baby and retained Steve Carey and his firm (Carey) (defendants) to sue their obstetrician. An expert opined that the obstetrician’s negligence proximately caused the baby’s death. Another specialist believed there was malpractice but was unwilling to testify. Three other medical experts could not provide favorable opinions. Carey filed medical-malpractice claims against the obstetrician and hospital but failed to file the required application with the Montana Medical Legal Panel (MMLP) within the statute of limitations. The court dismissed the Labairs’ claims as time barred. The Labairs sued Carey for legal malpractice. Carey moved for summary judgment, arguing that his conduct did not damage the Labairs because the underlying medical-malpractice claims could not be established by expert testimony. The court ruled that the Labairs failed to establish a prima facie case because they did not show the underlying medical-malpractice claims would have succeeded but for Carey’s failure to file the MMLP application. The Labairs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cotter, J.)

Concurrence (Nelson, J.)

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