2006 Code of Virginia § 8.01-20.1 - Certification of expert witness opinion at time of service of process

8.01-20.1. Certification of expert witness opinion at time of service ofprocess.

Every motion for judgment, counter claim, or third party claim in a medicalmalpractice action, at the time the plaintiff requests service of processupon a defendant, shall be deemed a certification that the plaintiff hasobtained from an expert witness whom the plaintiff reasonably believes wouldqualify as an expert witness pursuant to subsection A of 8.01-581.20 awritten opinion signed by the expert witness that, based upon a reasonableunderstanding of the facts, the defendant for whom service of process hasbeen requested deviated from the applicable standard of care and thedeviation was a proximate cause of the injuries claimed. This certificationis not necessary if the plaintiff, in good faith, alleges a medicalmalpractice action that asserts a theory of liability where expert testimonyis unnecessary because the alleged act of negligence clearly lies within therange of the jury's common knowledge and experience.

The certifying expert shall not be required to be an expert witness expectedto testify at trial nor shall any defendant be entitled to discover theidentity of the certifying expert or the nature of the certifying expert'sopinions. Should the certifying expert be identified as an expert expected totestify at trial, the opinions and bases therefor shall be discoverablepursuant to Rule 4:1 of the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia with theexception of the expert's status as a certifying expert.

Upon written request of any defendant, the plaintiff shall, within 10business days after receipt of such request, provide the defendant with acertification form that affirms that the plaintiff had obtained the necessarycertifying expert opinion at the time service was requested or affirms thatthe plaintiff did not need to obtain a certifying expert witness opinion. Ifthe plaintiff did not obtain a necessary certifying expert opinion at thetime the plaintiff requested service of process on a defendant as requiredunder this section, the court shall impose sanctions according to theprovisions of 8.01-271.1 and may dismiss the case with prejudice.

(2005, cc. 649, 692.)

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