Tenet Hosps. Ltd. v. Rivera (Opinion)Annotate this Case
In 2003, the Legislature enacted the Medical Liability Act, which contains a statute of repose that operates as a bar to claims that are not brought within ten years of the date of the medical treatment. In this case, alleged negligence occurred during the birth of a child in 1996. No suit was filed until 2011, five years after the repose statute’s deadline. The hospital moved for summary judgment, asserting that the repose statute barred the claim. The mother responded that the Act’s ten-year statute of repose violates the open court and retroactivity provisions of the Texas Constitution. The Supreme Court upheld the Act’s repose statute against the mother’s as-applied constitutional challenges, holding (1) the mother’s open courts challenge failed due to the mother’s lack of diligence in filing suit; and (2) the mother’s retroactivity challenge failed because a compelling public purpose justified the legislation and granted the mother a three-year grace period to file suit.