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Strickland v. Vencor, Inc. (2000 WL 622292 (Minn.App.))

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Articles: Minnesota

Strickland v. Vencor, Inc. (2000 WL 622292 (Minn.App.))

CASE:
Strickland v. Vencor, Inc. (2000 WL 622292 (Minn.App.))
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Rita Strickland, Administrator for the Estate of Margaret Louise Peterson (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Vencor, Inc.
COURT:
Court of Appeals of Minnesota
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Plaintiff sued Vencor, Inc., owner and operator of Woodside Nursing Home, asserting claims for wrongful death, breach of contract for services to provide personal care, and breach of Medicare and Medicaid contracts. Vencor moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The district court granted the motion.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:
Margaret Louise Peterson was a resident of Woodside Convalescent Center (owned and operated by the defendant). On December 16, 1996, Peterson fell while at Woodside. 12 days later, Ms. Peterson died. Peterson’s daughter, Rita Strickland was appointed as special administrator for Peterson’s estate and in that capacity brought a claim against the owner/operator of Woodside for breach of contract.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:
The district court granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that Strickland’s breach of contract claim was a tort claim, rather than a contract claim and therefore did not survive Peterson’s death. They also found that Minnesota law did not provide a private right of action to enforce or recover on Medicare or Medicaid contracts.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:
Did the court err in dismissing the breach of contract claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
No

RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
The substance of the cause of action is an injury to the person, and the claim abated at Peterson’s death.

 

Minn.Stat. § 573.01 provides for the abatement of causes of action for personal injuries even when they constitute breached of contract.

– Webber v. St. Paul City Ry. Co., 97 F. 140,145 (8th Cir.1899)

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