Thursday, September 26, 2019

Judge Nealon Addresses Application of Statute of Limitations Discovery Rule in Med Mal Action


In the case of Monahan v. Reedy, No. 2015-CV-6698 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Sept. 12, 2019 Nealon, J.), the court addressed the application of the statute of limitations discovery rule in the context of a medical malpractice action.  

According to the Opinion, this matter involved a medical malpractice action in which the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant doctor damaged the female Plaintiff’s ureter during surgery, which gradually led to permanent damage to the Plaintiff’s left kidney such that the kidney had to be surgically removed four (4) years after the original alleged negligence.  

The Defendants filed Motions for Summary Judgment seeking the dismissal of the suit on the ground the lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations based upon the application of the discovery rule which required that a plaintiff file this personal injury action within two (2) years of the date that the plaintiff knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that he or she had been injured and that the injury had been caused by the doctor’s negligence.   

The court note that, reviewing the records in light most favorable to the Plaintiff as required by the summary judgment standard of review, the facts revealed that the Plaintiff did not experience any immediate or continuous signs of ureteral injury following the initial surgery and that, as she progressively developed symptoms indicative of such an injury and diminished kidney function through 2012, she was advised by her doctors that the problems were “probably hormonal.”  

After a CT scan was completed three (3) years after the original surgery, which revealed a ureteral obstruction and swelling of the kidney, that interpreting radiologist indicated that these findings could be related to the original surgery.   The Plaintiff provided the CT scan report to her doctor who informed her that the CT scans were unrelated to the surgery and were instead related to other medical conditions.  

The court noted that, prior to the filing of this suit, no other healthcare providers who treated the Plaintiff ever suggested that the Plaintiff’s symptoms or the need for a kidney removal was related to the original surgery.   

Based upon these facts, the court found that there were issues of fact as to whether the Plaintiffs, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have ascertained more than two (2) years prior to initiating this lawsuit that the Plaintiff had been the victim of negligence.  As such, the Motions for Summary Judgment were denied.  


Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.


No comments:

Post a Comment