Pre-Trial Discovery in Maryland Nursing Home Cases

When a Maryland nursing home neglect lawsuit is filed, the case will proceed through several stages before it is ready to be heard. One of the most important pre-trial stages is the discovery stage, at which the parties request and exchange relevant information about the case.

ContractThe discovery stage presents an important opportunity for a plaintiff to develop their case, since this is often when the plaintiff receives information to which they may not otherwise have access. In most cases, a plaintiff will request any and all evidence that they believe is in the defendant’s control that will be potentially helpful to their case. Similarly, a plaintiff can request any evidence that may be harmful to their case so that they can be properly prepared to handle this evidence when it is presented.

In some cases, defendants may attempt to limit a plaintiff’s access to discoverable material by claiming that the evidence is covered under some privilege. In such situations, the parties will litigate pre-trial discovery motions in front of the court, which will have the ultimate decision regarding which evidence must be exchanged. A recent case involving wrongful death claims against a nursing home illustrates how a defendant nursing home may cite a privilege in an attempt to prevent a plaintiff’s access to certain evidence.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the father of a man who was a resident at the defendant skilled nursing facility. The plaintiff’s son was killed while staying at the defendant nursing home when he was attacked by another resident with a blunt object.

In a pre-trial discovery request, the plaintiff asked that he be provided with certain information, including:

  • The nursing home’s insurance limits;
  • Prior claims of personal injury occurring at the nursing home;
  • Information regarding the nursing home’s knowledge of any prior reports of violence involving the resident who attacked the plaintiff’s son; and
  • The results of the nursing home’s own internal investigation into the incident.

The nursing home objected to each of the requests, claiming that each was protected by a privilege.

The court determined that the nursing home must comply with each of the requests except for that requesting the results of the home’s own investigation into the incident. The court explained that this information fell within the “quality assurance” privilege that protects internal reports generated by a facility in pursuit of increasing the overall quality of care. Here, the court explained, it was clear that the nursing home’s internal investigation was conducted in hopes of determining ways to decrease the chance that an incident like this would occur in the future and was thus covered under the privilege.

Is Your Loved One at Risk?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they may be subject to abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation through a Maryland personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. The skilled Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience helping the families of abused and neglected residents pursue the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Abuse Frequently Goes Unreported, According to Recent Government Report, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 21, 2017.

Proving Abuse or Neglect in Maryland Nursing Home Cases, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 7, 2017.

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