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Stankiewicz v. Di Stefano

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

August 19, 2014

Stephen Stankiewicz
Andrew Di Stefano et al No. 128023


DENNIS J. CURRAN, Associate Justice.

This personal injury matter emanates from a car crash on October 29, 2012. Plaintiff's counsel has represented Mr. Stankiewicz for some time before the commencement on this litigation which occurred on March 17, 2014 in an effort to resolve the matter, to no avail.

At the time of filing, Mr. Stankiewicz filed a Civil Action Cover Sheet which stated, in response to the question, as to a " Brief description of the plaintiff's injuries and nature and extent of injury (describe) , " the following information relevant to our inquiry today:

[The car accident] caused bodily injury to the Plaintiff and other compensable injuries. As a result of his physical injuries and economic damages, special damages already exceed $25, 000. This does not take into account a recovery for the pain and suffering associated with his physical injuries.

Nowhere in Mr. Stankiewicz's Cover Sheet does there appear--nor in the complaint for that matter--a description of the plaintiff's injuries and the nature and extent of his injuries, as asked and required. The conclusory language employed above appears at best, to demonstrate a cavalier attitude toward counsel's requirement under Superior Court Rule 29 and is unhelpful to this court in determining whether this Court is the proper forum for this matter.

Either way, this court issued a Litigation Control Conference Notice on April 6, 2014 requiring plaintiff's counsel to produce " . . . highlighted copies of any and all medical reports evidencing medical diagnoses of the plaintiff's 'bodily injury' as alleged in paragraph 8 of the Complaint ."

The plaintiff responded by detailing $7, 970.88--not $25, 000 in special damages as previously claimed--about half of which were for ambulance services and diagnostic imaging testing.[1]

The plaintiff's MRI showed cervical injuries, but nothing in the records and reports produced causally relates those injuries to the car crash. At the Litigation Control Conference held last week, defense counsel requested that in light of this failure, the case be dismissed in this Court. The Court is disinclined to do so at this time. Instead, the Court orders that the plaintiff's counsel, who has, by admission, represented Mr. Stankiewicz for quite some time now well before this lawsuit was filed, produce within 45 days a medical report signed by a licensed medical physician causally relating the injuries reported on the MRI to the car crash. This report may be brief, but must demonstrate such causal connection. It shall be transmitted by facsimile to my attention at (781) 939-2883 on or before Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

Failing such timely production, this case must regrettably be dismissed with a respectful suggestion that the plaintiff re-file the matter in the district court.

In the meantime, to assist the Court in the future in triaging whether new case filings are appropriate for this judicial forum, it would be appreciated if counsel could substantively answer the Rule 29 question on the Civil Action Cover Sheet at the time of filing the case so that the Court can avoid the needless expenditure of time and effort attending to what are, at essence, counsel's own responsibilities.

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