law-statute-of-repose | statute of limitations SoL |
STATUTES OF REPOSE
Methodist Healthcare Systems of San Antonio, Ltd. v. Rankin, No. 08-0316 (Tex. Mar. 12, 2010)(Willett)
(statute of repose, health care liability claim, res ipsa loquitur)
METHODIST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM OF SAN ANTONIO, LTD., L.L.P., W.C. SCHORLEMER, M.D., AND ROBERT
SCHORLEMER, M.D. v. EMMALENE RANKIN; from Bexar County;
4th district (04-07-00305-CV, 261 SW3d 93, 03-05-08) 2 petitions
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and renders judgment.
Justice Willett delivered the opinion of the Court. [pdf]
View Electronic Briefs 08-0316 METHODIST HEALTHCARE SSYTEM OF SAN ANTONIO, LTD., L.L.P. v. RANKIN
This case pits the ten-year statute of repose for healthcare-liability claims1 against the Texas Constitution’s Open
Courts provision.2 We examine for the first time whether the latter saves a malpractice claim if the former has
expired. The answer is no.
The Open Courts provision does not confer an open-ended and perpetual right to sue; it “merely gives litigants a
reasonable time to discover their injuries and file suit.”3 The Legislature may set an absolute cut-off point for
healthcare suits, as it has for other suits,4 so long as the repose period is a reasonable exercise of the
Legislature’s police power to act in the interest of the general welfare. The ten-year statute of repose at issue
adopts a constitutionally permissible policymaking judgment of the Legislature. Accordingly, we reverse the
judgment of the court of appeals and render judgment for the petitioners.