Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Second Department Holds That Commencement Of Prior Action Did Not Bar Insanity Toll

In Montepiedra v. Hon, the plaintiff, Filomena Montepiedra, commenced a medical malpractice action, as guardian for Maria Montepiedra, for injuries Maria allegedly sustained as a result of the rupture of a brain aneurysm.  The action, however, was commenced outside of the two and half year statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions, prompting a motion for summary judgment from the defendants. 

While acknowledging that there was sufficient evidence to support the insanity toll to the statute of limitations (CPLR 208), the defendants argued that the toll was inapplicable because a prior action had been commenced in Maria's name. According to the defendants, the prior action demonstrated that Maria was not incapable of protecting her rights.  The trial court granted the defendants' motions, but the Second Department reversed. 

According to the Court "the toll provided in CPLR 208 was not terminated or unavailable due to the commencement of the prior action."  Since the defendants "conceded" that there was sufficient evidence to support the insanity toll, the Court concluded that the defendants failed to meet their burden and the motion should have been denied. 

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