By Alex Stein
On October 18, Maryland’s Court of Appeals has delivered a precedential ruling on the applicability of the state’s limitation and repose statutes to suits for wrongful death that allegedly resulted from medical malpractice. Mummert v. Alizadeh— A.3d —-, 2013 WL 5663105 (Md. 2013).
This ruling dealt with the following set of facts:
A family doctor failed to address his patient’s cancer symptoms between 1997 and 2004. In 2004, the patient was diagnosed with cancer that could not be treated successfully. The patient died of cancer on March 14, 2008. On March 8, 2011, her surviving family members filed a wrongful death action against the doctor, who claimed in response that the action was time-barred. The doctor relied on the 3-year limitations period set for wrongful death actions generally and on Maryland’s Health Care Malpractice Claims Act that sets two alternative expiration dates for suits against physicians: “(1) Five years of the time the injury was committed; or (2) Three years of the date the injury was discovered.” (§ 5–109 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code).
The Court dismissed both defenses and allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with their suit. Read More