Burgard v. Benedictine Living Communities (680 N.W.2d 296)

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Articles: South Dakota

Burgard v. Benedictine Living Communities (680 N.W.2d 296)

CASE:
Burgard v. Benedictine Living Communities (680 N.W.2d 296)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Thomas Burgard, personal representative for the estate of Anton Burgard (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Benedictine Living Communities, owner/operator of Aberdeen Living Center
COURT:
Supreme Court of South Dakota (2004)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

On June 14, 2002, Thomas Burgard, as personal representative for the estate of Anton Burgard (deceased) filed suit against Aberdeen Living Center through its owner/operator, Benedictine Living Communities. Benedictine filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the suit was time barred by a two year statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion. Burgard appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Anton Burgard had hip surgery on May 14, 1999. Three days after surgery, Anton fell in his hospital room. As a result, hospital staff placed Anton in restraints for his own safety.

On May 29, 1999, Anton was transferred to Aberdeen Living Center (owned by the named defendant) for rehabilitation. Aberdeen was aware that Anton needed to be restrained for his own safety, but they chose not to restrain him. Anton fell three times while at Aberdeen, and, as a result of the falls, suffered a broken shoulder and dislocated hip. After his falls, Anton’s health began to deteriorate and he developed an infection and pneumonia. Anton died on June 15, 1999.

On October 24, 2001, The Supreme Court of South Dakota decided the case of Peterson v. Burns, finding that a two- year statute of limitations governs wrongful death claims arising from medical malpractice.

On June 14, 2002, Thomas Burgard filed his medical malpractice and wrongful death suit against the defendant.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court granted Benedictine’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the decision inPeterson applied retroactively.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Did the trial court err in applying the two- year statute of limitations arising out of the Petersondecision retroactively, rather than proactively?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
No
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
The Supreme Court found that the principal rationale for allowing prospective application is the reliance of parties on the old rule of law. They ruled that Burgard failed to show that they relied on the old rule of law.

Nursing Home Injury Laws: South Dakota

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