Drysdale v. South County Hospital Health Care System, 010505 RISUP, WC 01-0373
|Docket Nº:||C.A. WC 01-0373|
|Case Date:||January 05, 2005|
"Upon motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, upon motion made by a party within 20 days after the service of the pleading upon the party or upon the court's own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense, or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Super. Ct. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(f).Motions to strike a defense under Rule 12(f) are generally not favored. See Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, 677 F.2d 1045, 1057 (5th Cir. 1982). However, in the instance when only a legal determination must be made based upon uncontroverted facts, a motion to strike may be useful. See generally, Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 3d § 1381. It appears from these pretrial pleadings that it is the intention of the Defendants, at trial, to make the statutory election permitted by §9-19-34.1. Accordingly, this motion to strike is essentially in the nature of a motion seeking a determination in limine as to the availability of this statutory defense. In that procedural context, the Court will rule on the constitutional issues raised by the Defendants. Background In 1976, the General Assembly enacted the Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Reform Act. See P.L. 1976, ch. 244, sec. 7. At that time, the General Assembly enacted G.L. 1956 § 9-19-34, the precursor to the statute challenged herein. In addition, the General Assembly at that time enacted a variety of other measures designed to address a perceived crisis in connection with medical malpractice claims. In pertinent part, the statute effectively abrogated the common law collateral source rule in the context of medical malpractice actions. The common law collateral source rule "mandates that evidence of payments made to an insured party from sources independent of a tort feasor are inadmissible and shall not diminish the tort feasor's liability to plaintiff." Votolato v. Merandi, 747 A.2d 455, 463 (R.I. 2000) (quoting Gelsomino v. Mendoca, 723 A.2d 300, 301 (R.I. 1999)). In 1986, the collateral source statute was amended to add the language which provides that whenever the plaintiff's award is...
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