Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Medical Malpractice Statute of Repose is Unconstitutional

In the case of Yanakos v. UPMC, No. 10 WAP 2018 (Pa. Oct. 31, 2019) (Op. by Mundy, J.), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled that MCARE's statute of repose was unconstitutional.

Typically, a medical malpractice action is governed by a two (2) year statute of limitation.  However, there may be some cases where a Plaintiff does not discover an injury that is allegedly the result of medical negligence within that two year period.  Under MCARE's statute of repose, medical malpractice actions must be brought within seven (7) years of alleged medical malpractice.

The rationale of the majority Opinion in Yanakos striking down the statute of repose under the MCARE Act was that the statute of repose was not substantially related to a governmental interest as was necessary to uphold the statute.  The Court also found that the statute of repose in the MCARE Act violated the Pennsylvania Constitution's guarantee of open access to the Courts.

The majority Opinion in Yanakos can be viewed HERE.

The Opinion of Justice Donohue, concurring in and dissenting from the result, can be viewed at this LINK.

The dissenting Opinion written by Justice Wecht can be viewed HERE.

Source:  Article - "MCARE Statute of Repose is Unconstitutional, Pa. Supreme Court Rules."  Pennsylvania Law Weekly.  By Max Mitchell (October, 31, 2019).

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