Closely akin to legal malpractice, here an Iowa County defends its sheriff’s negligence in process service. In New York, the attorney may be held responsible for the process server’s negligence. Here the county is defendant:
"Douglas County might have to pay a hefty price for an employee’s failure to deliver.
The county finds itself as the defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit because, contrary to a civil process server’s contention, the original defendant was never served papers.
Eugenia Kudym of Omaha is asking for $450,000 in damages — the amount her attorney said she could have recovered from her physician after she suffered complications from gastric bypass surgery in 2003.
A judge last year ruled that a server from the sheriff’s department did not properly serve Kudym’s physician. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations for malpractice lapsed, eliminating the physician from possibly having to pay damages. "
For the county to be held liable, Blakeman must prove malpractice occurred and that the county’s error cost Kudym the opportunity to seek damages from the physician.
"The more difficult side is proving the medical malpractice claim," Blakeman said Monday. "The fact the judge has decided (the county) didn’t successfully serve the doctor sits in our favor. In essence, it’s been determined that the county didn’t perform."