Lane & Waterman attorneys Bob Waterman and David Waterman won a dispositive motion filed on behalf of their clients, a southeastern medical clinic and a nurse practitioner, who were sued in a medical malpractice/wrongful death lawsuit brought by Plaintiff, a former patient. In this action, Plaintiff claimed the alleged medical malpractice caused a delay in diagnosing and treating breast cancer, from which the patient later died.
Today, the Iowa District Court for Polk County granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Lane & Waterman’s clients. In doing so, the Court agreed with their position—that the statute of limitations under Iowa Code § 614.1(9)(a) is triggered by whichever harm event—injury or death—occurs first. Thus, the statute of limitations began to run on May 11, 2017 (the date of Plaintiff’s diagnosis of breast cancer), not on June 7, 2019 (the date of Plaintiff’s death). The Court rejected Plaintiff’s interpretation of the caselaw that the harm events—injury and death—are treated differently. The Iowa District Court’s Order is supported by the plain language of Iowa Code § 614.1(9); the public policy arguments justifying the enactment of the statute, such as to alleviate the medical malpractice insurance crisis and to restrict the length of time for commencing medical malpractice actions; and the relevant caselaw. The Court’s Order also marks an important victory for healthcare providers, who will less likely be prejudiced by having to defend against stale claims and by lacking security and stability in their affairs.
Attached is a redacted copy of the Court’s decision.
Bob Waterman joined Lane & Waterman in 1981 and for 40 years has focused his civil litigation practice for the defense primarily in the areas of professional malpractice, product liability, and insurance coverage litigation.
David Waterman joined Lane & Waterman in 2020 after spending more than four years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida where he served as a federal prosecutor in the Appellate and Criminal Divisions. At L&W, David’s practice areas include civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, government regulatory and compliance, and appeals.