South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Statute of Limitations Blocks Malpractice Suit
Description

Appeals court held that a patient suing a health care provider had waited until after the statute of limitation expired to pursue the suit. Since she was aware of the alleged problem, there was no excuse for waiting so long to file, so the cause of action was lost.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Statute of Limitation; Timely Filing; Medical Malpractice

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

In 1995, Bonucchi suffered a reaction to a drug during medical treatment. Four years later, when being treated for another matter, she told the health care provider she was allergic to that drug. She was prescribed another drug that contained the same ingredient as the first drug, and she suffered another reaction to the drug. Four years later, she sued the health care provider for malpractice for prescribing the second drug. Defendants moved to have the suit dismissed, but the trial court refused. Defendants appealed that ruling.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. Bonucchi should have known of her injury and the alleged malpractice sooner. Generally, the period of limitation for commencing a malpractice action is two years. However, a medical malpractice action is considered timely after the general period of limitation has expired if it is commenced within six months of when the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence that an injury occurred. Plaintiff sued the drug maker in 2000; there is no reason she should have waited until 2003 to bring suit against the health-care provider that prescribed the medicine.

Citation

Bonucchi v. Michigan State Univ. Board of Trustees, 2006 WL 782269 (Ct. App., Mich., 2006)

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