Is Expert Reports Mandatory In Medical Malpractice Lawsuits In Texas ?

The Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act was enacted by the Texas Legislature to curtail frivolous claims against physicians and related health care providers. See Horsley-Layman v. Angeles, 968 S.W.2d 533, 537 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 1998, no pet.). Under the Act, a plaintiff must provide each defending physician or health care provider one or more expert reports, along with a curriculum vitae, not later than the 180th day after the date on which a health care liability action is filed. See TEX. REV. CIV. STAT. ANN. art. 4590i, 13.01(d)(1). If a plaintiff fails to comply with this provision and the defendant files a motion seeking sanctions, a trial court has no discretion and must enter an order dismissing the case with prejudice. See id. 13.01(e)(3). But where an expert report is tendered to the opposing party, the party is permitted to challenge the report's adequacy. See id. 13.01(l). The court must grant the motion if it appears to the court, after conducting a hearing, that the report does not represent a good faith effort to meet the requirements of an expert report. See id. An expert report is defined as any report written by an expert that provides a fair summary of the expert's opinions as of the date of the report regarding: (1) the applicable standard of care; (2) the manner in which the care rendered by defendant failed to meet the standard of care; (3) the causal relationship between that failure and the injury, harm, or damages claimed. See id. 13.01(r)(6).