Jilly v. Rayes (CA1 4/30/09)

This special action upholds A.R.S. 12-2603, the statute that requires a medical-malpractice plaintiff to produce an expert’s affidavit with his Disclosure Statement.

Plaintiff argued that the statute conflicts with a couple of discovery rules. The trial judge agreed that it does. In a laudably brief opinion, the Court of Appeals concluded that no, it doesn’t.

There wouldn’t be much more to say about the case were it not for what the court names it. Apparently, we are to refer to it as “Jilly v. Hon. Rayes/Carter.” “Hon. Rayes” is Douglas Rayes, the trial  judge; Carter is the Plaintiff/Real Party in Interest.

In the old days, special actions sometimes named the judge but often named the Superior Court (of whatever County) as the respondent. The theory was that it was a courtesy to the judge not to splash his or her name across the pages of the Reports. Naming the judge was eventually required, for reasons not obvious to practitioners but presumably known to bureaucratic keepers of statistics.  Now, it seems, we must include the honorific as well. Yes, the formal caption of the case says “The Honorable Douglas L. Rayes” but since when does that all get worked into the case name? Captions have said such things for a long time; do we say “Smith v. Dr. Jones” whenever a medical malpractice caption says “Doctor” (as they occasionally do, believe it or don’t).

And why tack on the name of the real party in interest? A case’s name is just something to call it, not a list of the parties.

Of course, these questions may be pointless. It remains to be seen how the case will be named by the real judges of such things: the law-school-grads-who-can’t-get-better-jobs at Thompson/West.