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Monday, October 14, 2019

University of Utah defeats medical malpractice lawsuit

State Supreme Court

By Shanice Harris | Sep 18, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) – The Utah Supreme Court has sided with state's Third District Court in ruling that a woman allegedly injured during a surgery at LDS Hospital waited too long to file her case.

The Utah Governmental Immunity Act requires plaintiffs to give notice of their claim to the state within a year. Justice John Pearce said in the Aug. 15 ruling that defendant University of Utah, which employed the physician who performed the plaintiff's surgery, is a state entity under the Act.

Plaintiff Cheryl Amundsen argued she was within the timeframe because she filed within a year of when she knew she would have a case against the university. But, the District Court disagreed and dismissed her case. 

 “Although Amundsen’s surgery took place at LDS Hospital, Amundsen had consulted with her surgeon at a University clinic multiple times and received an itemization from the University for his services,” Pearce wrote. 

"This was sufficient information to put a reasonable person on notice that her claim might be against the state. And because Amundsen had reason to inquire long before she filed her notice of claim, her notice was untimely."

The ruling states Amundsen visited the University of Utah’s clinic three times over the course of two years from August 2011 to October 2013. Dr. Mark Dodson, who was also a professor at the school, saw her on all occasions. On Oct. 30, 2013, Dodson performed surgery on the plaintiff. 

She alleges that he injured her colon during the surgery. Because of this, Amundsen alleges she needed several other procedures and spent months in intensive care. 

On Oct. 2, 2014, Amundsen served a notice of intent to move forward with her claims against the University of Utah Health Care, Dodson, and LDS Hospital but she soon dismissed those and moved to amend the complaint to name the university as the defendant. The District Court dismissed the case with prejudice.

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