Case Caption: Charmaine P. Daley-Jeffers v. Dr. Emanuel Graham, et al.Case Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2017-0011Date: 11/19/2018Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary: In a medical malpractice proceeding, the Superior Court’s order granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and insufficient service of process is reversed. The Medical Malpractice Act is a jurisdiction limiting statute which prohibits a claimant from commencing a suit against a health care provider before the claimant has filed her proposed complaint with the Committee. Title 27 V.I.C. § 166i provides that once a claimant has filed her complaint with the Medical Malpractice Action Review Committee, she may proceed to court after one of two things happens: (1) the Committee has received an expert opinion; or (2) the Committee has not received an expert opinion and 90 days have passed. Nowhere does the statute state that expressly pleading compliance with the requirements of § 166i is a precursor to invoking subject matter jurisdiction of the Superior Court. Section 166i is clear; statutory restrictions on the Superior Court’s jurisdiction are inapplicable once the claimant has satisfied the statutory pre-filing conditions, and the record here clearly demonstrates that the plaintiff filed a proposed complaint with the Committee, satisfying the first condition of § 166i. After the Committee did not respond within 90 days, the second condition was met, and she was free to file her complaint with the Superior Court, which then had jurisdiction to hear her claim under 4 V.I.C. § 76(a), and no other action was necessary—pleading or otherwise—to invoke the Superior Court’s subject matter jurisdiction. Further, dismissal of this claim for insufficient service of process was an abuse of discretion. Plaintiff’s motion and exhibits filed in response to the motion to dismiss for insufficient service of process clearly evidenced that she had timely remedied her initially deficient service. The August 24, 2016 Superior Court order granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this holding.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion