MAILING CHAPTER 74 NOTICE TO HOSPITAL IS NOT “NOTICE”

Thornton v. Columbia Medical Center of Plano Subsidiary, LP
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-18-01010--CV (September 12, 2019)
Justices Myers (Opinion available here), Osborne, and Nowell
Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case sued Columbia Medical Center of Plano Subsidiary, LP two years and sixty-two days after the patient’s death. Under Civil Practices & Remedies Code, Chapter 74, providing notice of a health care liability claim to a “physician or health care provider against whom such claim is being made” tolls the 2-year statute of limitations for 75 days. Here, plaintiffs mailed their notice to the hospital’s physical address, rather than an authorized agent for service of process.

The Dallas Court of Appeals held that a Texas limited partnership receives notice when it is served on its registered agent or a general partner. Columbia’s registered agent was CT Corporation System. The Court held that, even though the Medical Center of Plano at 3901 W. 15th Street, Plano, Texas, 75075 “was the physical place at which the treatment occurred,” “it was not the health care provider Thornton sued.” So mailing notice to “Medical Center of Plano” at the hospital’s physical address did not provide notice to Columbia, and the statute of limitations was not tolled. Summary judgment in favor of Columbia was affirmed.

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