Hebner v. Reddy (Opinion)Annotate this Case
A baby died after being delivered by emergency caesarean section. About six months before actually filing suit, the plaintiffs voluntarily served an expert report concurrently with a pre-suit notice letter. After filing suit, the plaintiffs attempted to serve the same previously served expert report on the defendant but mistakenly served another report— from the same expert but addressing a different patient, doctor, and claim. The defendant made no objection, but waited for passage of the 120-day deadline before moving to dismiss under the Texas Medical Liability Act (Act), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Remedy Code 74.051, which requires claimants pursuing a healthcare liability claim to serve an expert report on each party no later than the 120th day after filing an original petition. The trial court denied that motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the plaintiffs failed to timely serve a qualifying expert report. The Supreme Court reversed, reinstating denial of defendants’ motion. Nothing in the Act compels the conclusion that a plaintiff cannot satisfy the expert-report requirement through pre-suit service of an otherwise satisfactory expert report. Moreover, the court of appeals’ conclusion frustrates the Act’s purpose, which is to eliminate frivolous healthcare liability claims, not potentially meritorious ones.