Certificates of Review in Professional Negligence Cases
Should California adopt Colorado's statute requiring that an attorney file a "certificate of review" in all cases where negligence by a licensed professional is alleged?
The purpose of the certificate of review is to demonstrate that the plaintiff has consulted with a person who has expertise in the area and that the expert consulted has concluded that the claim does not lack substantial justification. West's C.R.S.A. § 13-20-602(1)(a). The certificate of review requires the attorney, at the outset of litigation, to confirm with another licensed professional or expert who is competent to set forth an opinion on the matter whether the claim lacks substantial justification. Presumably, the intention is that this requirement somehow weeds out those actions against licensed professionals which are frivolous. I am not convinced that the certificate of review actually accomplishes its purpose. Certificates of review seem to have become more or less a rote procedural obligation. Generally speaking, the Certificate itself merely confirms that the undersigned counsel has consulted with a qualified expert - the expert is not identified. Perhaps the same idea may be useful in California, where the dockets are particularly cramped, if the expert were identified at the outset and later utilized as an expert as to the standard of care required in a particular instance.