Texas’s Solicitor General has just filed an amicus brief defending the constitutionality of Texas’s 10-year statute of repose for medical malpractice claims. (( A statute of limitations is different. Typically, a statute of limitations is not triggered until the plaintiff has some reason to know about their claim (the so-called “discovery rule”), and there are narrow situations where a statute of limitations can be “tolled” (excused) for a time, such as the when a plaintiff is a small child. A statute of repose begins immediately and typically does not have exceptions.
If you want to see for yourself, the statute in question is Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.251(b). ))
The case is Methodist Healthcare System of San Antonio, Ltd. v. Emmanelene Rankin, No. 08-0316 (more info).
Chuck Lindell at the Statesman published a brief note yesterday about the Solicitor General’s brief and the background of the case. In a previous article, he also wrote about the oral arguments held before the Court in September.
This looks like an important case for both sides of the tort bar. All three amicus briefs filed so far support the hospital. (( The briefs from Texas Health Resources and from the Texas Alliance for Patient Access are online and are included on my docket tracking page for this case. The Solicitor General’s brief is not yet online. ))
There is a related case (argued the same day): Tangie Walters v. Cleveland Regional Medical Center, Shirley Kiefer, and Keith Spooner, M.D., No. 08-0619 (more info). No amicus briefs have been filed in that case.