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Back To Court after COVID: Malpractice Cases Take a Back Seat

by Tom Augello | 09/30/2021

A lingering pandemic and the powerful need to re-open courtrooms are bumping up against each other at the start of autumn 2021. In Massachusetts, trials were suspended and all non-emergency court business stopped from summer 2020 to the beginning of this year when the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) allowed partial re-opening with restrictions.

Still, by spring there was a backlog of 3,700 cases throughout the Commonwealth, and criminal trials were given priority over medical malpractice civil cases. 

After a further opening and lifting of most restrictions during the summer, where do things stand?


CRICO caught up with one of the top defense attorneys in Boston’s medmal world for an interview on our “Safety Net” podcast.


Click to see the full transcript.

Richard Riley, Esq., of Murphy & Riley, PC has been shepherding multiple cases for doctors and other medical defendants all through these challenges.

“The pandemic, as most people know, pretty much shut society down, and the courthouses were no exception,” Riley tells us. “We had to learn how to keep cases moving as best we could without the ability to appear in court for motions, conferences, or trials.”

For Riley, however, efforts to get trials moving will be about helping CRICO defendants and all of his clients get to a resolution.

“When we think about the clients that we serve, they are health care professionals and the last 18 months has been an extraordinary challenge for health care professionals just from what they do on a day-to-day basis. And when we intersect with them, it’s because typically they have had a claim asserted or a lawsuit filed against them and so that’s just an added level of pressure and stress on top of what had to be a crushingly stressful period for virtually every health care professional.”

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