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Ohio Case Interprets Statute Of Repose To Suppress Medical Malpractice Suits

The Supreme Court of Ohio just issued a decision that could make it far more difficult for people to get the compensation that they need after being the victim of medical malpractice. The case, Antoon v. Cleveland Clinic, made not one but two huge rulings on Ohio medical malpractice law, each of which makes it more difficult to file medical malpractice claims. One of these rulings had to do with Ohio’s statute of repose, with the Supreme Court of Ohio severely limiting it for medical malpractice cases.

On January 8, 2008, David Antoon got a prostatectomy at the Cleveland Clinic. The doctors involved in his procedure were Drs. Kaouk, Goel, and Lee. The surgery did not work, and the side effects of the procedure forced Antoon to spend nearly a year consulting with the Clinic.

On December 9, 2009, to conform with Ohio’s rules on medical malpractice lawsuits, Antoon notified the Clinic of his intent to sue within 180 days. Within that time period, Antoon, acting without an attorney, sued in state court. However, he then thought better of it, dismissed the case in state court, and brought it to federal court. The federal court case, however, did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, and Antoon did not refile it in state court until November 14, 2013.

Ohio’s statute of repose for medical malpractice claims requires lawsuits to be filed within four years of the alleged malpractice. Antoon’s claim was more than five years after the procedure.

Statutes of Repose

Just like a statute of limitation, a statute of repose requires lawsuits to be filed within a specified time period. They are supposed to allow the person who would face the lawsuit the ability to relax after the time period had passed, reposing in the knowledge that they would not be sued.

Vested Medical Malpractice Claims

Statutes of repose become a problem in medical malpractice claims because many instances of medical malpractice do not become apparent immediately. It takes time for a medical malpractice victim to realize that something went wrong. Once this realization is made, though, a medical malpractice claim “vests.” In Ohio, this has serious implications because of a provision in their state constitution that guarantees the right to a remedy in court for a vested injury.

Therefore, once Antoon had realized that he was the victim of potential medical malpractice, he had a right under the state constitution to be remedied.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Ohio decided that his lawsuit could not be filed because of the statute of repose. Because it was deemed to be a “reasonable” limitation on Antoon’s right to a remedy for his injuries, the Supreme Court of Ohio stood behind the statute of repose as a reason to dismiss his medical malpractice lawsuit.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys

The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian pay close attention to all developments across the country in the field of medical malpractice. Seeing these types of development in Ohio that make it more difficult for medical malpractice victims to get the compensation that they need and deserve bothers us, and we will fight both in and out of court to ensure that similar restraints do not happen here, in Maryland.

If you or someone you love has been hurt by an instance of medical malpractice, contact our law office online or at (800) 529-6162.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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