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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Covenant Medical Center and John Eaton, L.V.N. (collectively referred to as Covenant), petitioned the court for a writ of mandamus directing the trial court to 1. vacate its order granting Andrew Cord a 30-day grace period to file a medical expert report under 13.01(g) of Article 4590i of the Texas Revised Civil Statutes and 2. dismiss Cord’s medical malpractice suit against Covenant. Covenant argued that Cord was not entitled to an extension because the medical report tendered fell outside the scope of 13.01(g) and, therefore, the trial court was obligated to dismiss the suit. The expert in question was a registered nurse with a doctorate in philosophy. Nowhere in her report or vitae, however, did she expressly represent that her qualifications also enabled her to address causation, as required by 13.01(d). Instead, she simply represented that her education and experience enabled her “to render an opinion about the standard of care.” The trial court found the report deficient, but gave Cord 30 more days to file a report satisfying the requirements of 13.01(d). Implicit in the decision to extend Cord more time was the finding that neither he nor his attorney acted intentionally or with conscious indifference when tendering the initial report. HOLDING:The court denied the petition for writ of mandamus. For a report to satisfy 13.01(d), it must be written by an expert and provide a fair summary of that expert’s opinions regarding the applicable standard of care, its breach, and the causal relationship between the breach and injury. Cord’s attorney’s testified that they did not so act but thought a nurse such as the tendered expert was qualified to opine about the results of one’s failure to abide by standards of care recognized in the field of nursing. Given the statement of Cord’s attorney, the court finds that there is evidence of record upon which the trial court could have found (when deciding whether to grant additional time) that counsel likened the element of causation to be of the kind that requires no expert testimony. In other words, the court holds that the trial court had before it evidence of a purported mistake made by Cord’s attorney which influenced his decision to have the tendered expert draft the report. The alleged mistake consisted of the belief that a registered nurse could opine not only about the duties imposed on nurses but also the injuries caused others by the misconduct of nurses. Since evidence of such a belief appears of record and the belief has arguable basis in the law, the court concludes that the trial court had basis to find that the mistake of counsel was accidental, as opposed to intentional or consciously indifferent. And, because of that, the court declines say that the trial court acted unreasonably or abused its discretion in granting Cord a 30-day extension. OPINION:Quinn, C. J.; and Reavis, J. DISSENT:Campbell, J. “I would hold that the report omitted a required expert opinion on the issue of causation, and that Cord’s mistaken belief that the report complied with the statute is not a mistake of law that entitled him to a 13.01(g) grace period. Accordingly, I would grant relators their requested relief, and respectfully dissent from the Court’s disposition of their petition.”

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