In a 2016 nursing home negligence case, the plaintiff appealed from a dismissal of claims arising from her mother’s death. The case arose when the mother died in a nursing facility after suffering a fall. Her sister wouldn’t authorize treatment for the injuries from the fall. Her condition worsened, and eventually she died. Her daughter brought a nursing home negligence and wrongful death lawsuit.
She didn’t attach a Rule 9(j) certification to her nursing home negligence complaint. The defendants asked the trial court to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for failing to comply with Rule 9(j) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, which applies to medical malpractice lawsuits, determining that all of the claims constituted medical malpractice, and therefore, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur did not apply.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that Rule 9(j) didn’t apply because she wasn’t suing for medical malpractice. The appellate court found that some of the claims were for medical malpractice, while others weren’t, and they arose out of the defendants’ actions after the mother’s death. The 11 claims in the complaint were labeled as wrongful death, medical negligence, negligence, loss of sepulcher, contractual breach, fiduciary duty breach, bad faith, elder abuse, emotional distress of the decedent’s survivors, pain and suffering, and conspiracy. The appellate court determined that some of these claims had to do with the conduct of the defendants before the mother died, and others were related to actions taken after the mother’s death.