This blog post summarizes Mattison v. Gelber, a new Maryland Court of Appeals opinion in a medical malpractice case with a unique issue with respect to whether there was an entry of final judgment without an award of costs. You can go to the jump at the bottom of the post. I take the dog for a short walk in the introduction.
When I started practicing law, one of the first cases that I was given was a plaintiff’s legal malpractice case. Except for a subrogation case – which really does not count as a plaintiff’s case – it was the only plaintiff’s case that I had in my first four years as a lawyer. Now, it has been ten years since I was on the other side of the v.
Anyway, in the malpractice case, the lawyer blew the time for filing a post-verdict appeal. He blew in the most bizarre way possible: he filed his Notice of Appeal too early before final judgment had been entered.
The idea of committing legal malpractice for doing something too early stuck with me. I have been paranoid to this day about deadlines in general but, in particular, post-judgment motions. In Mattison v. Gelber, the court dealt with facts that validate my paranoia.
This case started, as many malpractice claims do, with a battle over venue. Plaintiff filed in Prince George’s County against two doctors. There is not a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland who would not prefer Prince George’s County to anywhere else (possible exception: Baltimore City). But the malpractice happened in Howard County, one of the toughest places in Maryland to try a malpractice case. The Prince George’s County Circuit Court transferred the case, it did what it likes to do if there is a venue of issue: kick it out of their court.