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Peek v. Manchester Memorial Hospital

Appellate Court of Connecticut

October 1, 2019

Delores PEEK
v.
MANCHESTER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL et al.

         Argued March 5, 2019

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          Neil Johnson, Hartford, for the appellant (plaintiff).

         Gretchen G. Randall, with whom, on the brief, was Emily McDonough Souza, New Haven, for the appellees (defendants).

         Alvord, Moll and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

         ALVORD, J.

         [193 Conn.App. 338] The plaintiff, Delores Peek, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants, Manchester Memorial Hospital and Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that her action [193 Conn.App. 339] was barred by the statute of limitations in General Statutes § 52-584.[1] Because we conclude that the evidence before the trial court demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact as to when the plaintiff discovered her injury as contemplated by § 52-584, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         The record, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff as the nonmoving party, reveals the following relevant facts and procedural history. On January 30, 2015, the plaintiff was admitted to Manchester Memorial Hospital with a medical diagnosis of C-Diff diarrhea. On or about that date, she was assessed at the hospital and found to be at risk for falling. She was placed on "fall prevention protocol" and required assistance to leave her hospital bed. On February 10, 2015, the plaintiff fell while using the restroom and sustained injuries to her shoulder and neck, for

Page 424

which she received medication and treatment. She "was unaware," on the date of her fall, "what was the cause of [her] fall." The plaintiff left the hospital on February 12, 2015, and received follow up care through December 10, 2015, on which date she underwent neck surgery.[2] On or about April 6, 2015, staff at the office of the plaintiff’s doctor informed the plaintiff that "a nurse or nurse’s aide should have been responsible for [her] safety while inpatient at [the defendants’ hospital]."

         On November 22, 2016, the plaintiff received an automatic ninety day extension of the statute of limitations [193 Conn.App. 340] pursuant to General Statutes § 52-190a (b).[3] The plaintiff delivered the action to the state marshal for service of process on May 22, 2017. In her one count complaint, the plaintiff alleges that her fall resulted from the defendants’ negligence in "fail[ing] to exercise the degree of care, skill, and diligence ordinarily exercised by hospitals engaged in the treat[ment] of patients ... on ... fall prevention protocol ...." On July 26, 2017, the defendants filed an answer and a special defense alleging that the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations in § 52-584. On July 31, 2017, the plaintiff filed her reply to the special defense, stating therein: "The plaintiff ... denies any and all allegations of the defendants’ special defense in its entirety, the plaintiff was inpatient for the stay subject of the plaintiff’s complaint until February 28, 2015."[4]

         On September 13, 2017, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, maintaining that the plaintiff’s action was barred by the statute of limitations in § 52-584. The documents submitted with the defendants’ motion and memorandum of law in support of their motion were the plaintiff’s certificate of good faith pursuant to § 52-190a and attached written opinion letter, the plaintiff’s request for an extension of the statute of ...


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