Affidavit of Meritorious Defense Law and Legal Definition

An affidavit of meritorious defense is a requirement in some jurisdictions, primarily in medical malpractice claims, whereby a defendant should include an affidavit of meritorious defense when filing the answer to the complaint of medical mal practice. This measure was adopted to decrease the number of frivolous malpractice suits filed against doctors and hospitals. It was hoped that these types of affidavits would weed out the frivolous suits and let only those cases with merit proceed. The information that must be included in an affidavit is prescribed in the relevant statutes.

The following is a State Statute ( Michigan) on Affidavit of Meritorious Defense:

In Michigan, a plaintiff in an action alleging medical malpractice or, if the plaintiff is represented by an attorney, the plaintiff's attorney shall file with the complaint an affidavit of merit signed by a health professional who the plaintiff's attorney reasonably believes meets the requirements for an expert witness. Once this is filed, the defendant's attorney shall file, not later than 91 days after the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney files the affidavit of merit an affidavit of meritorious defense signed by a health professional who the defendant's attorney reasonably believes meets the requirements for an expert witness.

MCLS § 600.2912e

(1) In an action alleging medical malpractice, within 21 days after the plaintiff has filed an affidavit in compliance with section 2912d, the defendant shall file an answer to the complaint. Subject to subsection (2), the defendant or, if the defendant is represented by an attorney, the defendant's attorney shall file, not later than 91 days after the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney files the affidavit required under section 2912d, an affidavit of meritorious defense signed by a health professional who the defendant's attorney reasonably believes meets the requirements for an expert witness under section 2169. The affidavit of meritorious defense shall certify that the health professional has reviewed the complaint and all medical records supplied to him or her by the defendant's attorney concerning the allegations contained in the complaint and shall contain a statement of each of the following:

(a) The factual basis for each defense to the claims made against the defendant in the complaint.

(b) The standard of practice or care that the health professional or health facility named as a defendant in the complaint claims to be applicable to the action and that the health professional or health facility complied with that standard.

(c) The manner in which it is claimed by the health professional or health facility named as a defendant in the complaint that there was compliance with the applicable standard of practice or care.

(d) The manner in which the health professional or health facility named as a defendant in the complaint contends that the alleged injury or alleged damage to the plaintiff is not related to the care and treatment rendered.

(2) If the plaintiff in an action alleging medical malpractice fails to allow access to medical records as required under section 2912b(6), the affidavit required under subsection (1) may be filed within 91 days after filing an answer to the complaint.