Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. State Department of Public HealthAnnotate this Case
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital sought a writ of administrative mandate after being fined $50,000 by the California Department of Public Health. The trial court dismissed, based on the statute of limitations. The court appeal affirmed in 2018, finding that the petition was not timely and that Saint Francis was not entitled to the benefit of either equitable tolling or equitable estoppel.
The state Supreme Court held that the 30-day limitations period under Government Code section 11523 for filing a petition for a writ of administrative mandate may be equitably tolled and that the first two elements of equitable tolling, timely notice and lack of prejudice, were satisfied, and remanded the question of whether Saint Francis satisfied the third element of reasonable and good faith conduct. The Department conceded that Saint Francis acted in good faith. The court of appeal again affirmed the dismissal. Saint Francis’s actions were not objectively reasonable. It is not objectively reasonable for an attorney to miss a deadline to file a petition due to a failure to appreciate easily ascertainable legal principles concerning whether reconsideration was an available remedy.