Statute of Repose Does Not Violate Due Process

The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that the three-year statute of repose for medical negligence cases does not violate due process when applied to those who are mentally incompetent. The plaintiff argued that due process required that the statute of repose should be tolled during the period of incompetency. Read Mills v. Wong at http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/TSC/Sc1qtr2005.htm.

As a result of this opinion, brain-injured adults and others who are incompetent lose their legal right to sue for medical negligence unless they file suit within one year of the date of discovery but no more than three years after the date of the negligent act or omission causing the injury (unless another exception to the statute of repose applies).

The only remaining exceptions to the statute of repose are for fraudulent concealment, the presence of foreign objects and the claims of minors.

The exception for minors is being challenged by a defendant in a case currently before the Tennessee Supreme Court. The case arises from a pending medical negligence action in federal court in Memphis. The federal district judge certified the issue to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Briefs have been filed in the case but no date has been set for oral argument. Our law firm will be filing an amicus curie brief on behalf of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association in support of the minor plaintiff.