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Seyegh v. Minas

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

July 3, 2016

Miriam H. Seyegh
Thomas Minas, M.D. et al No. 134240


          DENNIS J. CURRAN, Associate Justice.

         This is an action alleging medical malpractice that occurred well over five years ago on October 8, 2010 arising out of Ms. Seyegh's right knee surgery and its immediate sequelae . This lawsuit was filed on October 3, 2013, just five days shy of the expiration of the statute of limitations.

         Ms. Seyegh claims that Dr. Thomas Minas was negligent because he " breached the standard of care applicable to orthopedic surgeons by, inter alia, removing the stabilization from the [p]laintiff's right leg and by discharging her, ambulatory, while ordering an aesthetic nerve block to her right leg." ( See paragraph 31 of the complaint.) She further claims that Dr. Minas was, at all times, an agent authorized by Boston Outpatient Surgical Suites, LLC to act on its behalf, and that Dr. Minas used the surgical equipment of that corporation and staff while performing the surgery. She contends that Boston Outpatient Surgical Suites, LLC was " vicariously and directly liable for the negligence of the [d]efendant Minas." ( See paragraphs 36 and 38 of the complaint.)

         In her Civil Action Cover Sheet, Ms. Seyegh demands $10, 000, 000 in damages, claiming inter alia, $500, 000 in hospital and $200, 000 in physical therapy expenses, $5, 000, 000 in lost wages and $3, 750, 000 in pain and suffering.[1] The events complained of occurred almost five and a half years ago. In a telephone conference with the now pro se Ms. Seyegh earlier this week, she claimed that she believed immediately after the events following October 8, 2010 that she had been the victim of medical malpractice. Thus, she has been aware--for over five and a half years--that she needed evidence upon which to base her case.[2]

         On June 24, 2014, the defendant Dr. Minas sought a medical tribunal to have Ms. Seyegh's allegations evaluated under G.L.c. 231, section 60B. ( See paper no. 18.) The co-defendant Boston Outpatient Surgical Suites, LLC filed two requests for a medical tribunal: the first on February 4, 2014, and the second on October 9, 2014. An Order for a Medical Tribunal was issued on April 22, 2014. Ms. Seyegh almost immediately sought to defer the medical tribunal by filing an " Emergency Motion to Continue the Medical Tribunal and Proffer." ( See paper no. 12.) That motion was allowed, and the session judge continued the tribunal for at least a month, i.e., " to a date after June 20, 2014." ( See endorsement on paper no. 12.) As happens with medical tribunals, however, due to scheduling difficulties, the tribunal fell by the wayside for almost a year, when finally, another session judge issued an Order for Medical Tribunal on June 3, 2015. A week before the tribunal was to be held, Ms. Seyegh filed yet another " Emergency Motion to Continue/Reschedule the Malpractice Tribunal." ( See paper 24.) That motion was denied, with a second session judge stating:

Plaintiff has already continued the tribunal once, and it resulted in a 1-year delay in the scheduling of this proceeding, The Court cannot justify forcing this case (which is already aging) to suffer another delay of this duration . . .

         The Tribunal went forward on June 29, 2015. The plaintiff filed no Offer of Proof and no expert report. This was now four and a half years after Ms. Seyegh believed that she had been malpracticed. The Tribunal found in favor of the defendants. ( See paper 27.) A bond was required; [3] Ms. Seyegh sought immediately to reduce the bond as well as to increase the time within which to post it. The bond was reduced to $3, 000, and the time extended for one month to post it. At about the same time, Ms. Seyegh filed a motion to discharge her attorney, stating: " With great concern, [p]laintiff states that her counsel is not working to pursue or protect her interests with regard to her case." ( See paper no. 28.) The session judge allowed the motion and in doing so, wrote: " The plaintiff will be considered as representing herself unless and until an attorney enters an appearance on her behalf."

         On October 16, 2015, Ms. Seyegh filed yet another motion to increase the time to proceed with her case, this time for another year. That motion was denied.

         During the pendency of this action, each defendant served Interrogatories upon Ms. Seyegh inquiring what " the factual basis of your claim that an alleged act or omission of the defendant Thomas Minas, M.D., was a cause or contributing cause of your alleged injuries." ( See, for example, Interrogatory No. 4 in the First Set of Interrogatories from Dr. Minas to the defendant Seyegh.) The defendant Boston Surgical served its interrogatories on Ms. Seyegh on February 3, 2014; the defendant Dr. Minas served his interrogatories on June 27, 2014. No substantive answers were provided.

         Dissatisfied with these answers, the defendants recently sought to compel answers to these, and other, interrogatories as well as to seek responses to requests for production of documents--which had still not been provided after being served upon her some two years earlier. That motion was allowed.

         On June 9, 2016, Ms. Seyegh, responded to the question as to the ground for Dr. Minas's liability, by referring the reader to her answer to the previous question, in which she stated:

I am not a medical doctor and would leave this question to be answered by others who may testify on my behalf.

         In Interrogatory No. 17, Ms. Seyegh was asked the usual expert interrogatory permitted under Mass.R.Civ.P. 26. Again, she deferred, now claiming that " . . . she is pursuing new counsel and . . . we will make those decisions and accordingly supplement this answer." This is nearly a year after Ms. Seyegh and her first counsel parted ways.

         On June 9, 2016, this Court, having reviewed the history of this protracted litigation, ordered that the plaintiff provide complete and substantive discovery responses and in particular, her theory of negligence, the identity of her expert witness(es), the substance of their expected testimony and the basis for his/her opinion(s). Ms. Seyegh answered those interrogatories, and ...

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