Published on:

Walberg v. St. Francis Home, Inc. 281 Wis.2d 99, 697 N.W.2d 36)

elderly-abuse-neglect-wisconsin-nursing-home-300x200Articles: Wisconsin

Walberg v. St. Francis Home, Inc. 281 Wis.2d 99, 697 N.W.2d 36)

CASE:
Walberg v. St. Francis Home, Inc. 281 Wis.2d 99, 697 N.W.2d 36)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Julie Walberg, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Lucille Yox (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – St. Francis Home, Inc.
COURT:
Supreme Court of Wisconsin (2005)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

On August 12, 2002, Julie Walberg, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Lucille Yox filed suit against St. Francis Home alleging negligence and breach of contract. St. Francis Home filed a motion to dismiss based on statute of limitations. The trial court granted St. Francis Home’s motion. Walberg appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Between March 29, 2994 and December 3, 1996, Lucille Yox was a resident of St. Francis Home. From the time she arrived at St. Francis Home to the time she died on August 15, 2000, Lucille suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which, according to Wis. Stat. § 893.16, constituted a “mental illness.”

On August 12, 2002, Julie Walberg was appointed Special Administrator for Lucille’s estate. On that same day, Julie filed suit against St. Francis Home for negligence and breach of contract based on her care while a resident at the home.

St. Francis Home filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the suit was barred by a 1 year statute of limitations that would have expired on August 15, 2001, 1 year after Lucille’s death. They relied on Wis. Stat. § 893.22. Walberg argued that Wis. Stat. § 893.16 applied, allowing for a 2- year statute of limitations.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court found that Wis. Stat. § 893.22 applied, granting St. Francis Home’s motion to dismiss.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

1)     Did the trial court err in ruling that the 1- year statute of limitations applied?

2)     Did Lucille’s mental disability cease on the date of her death for the purposes of statute of limitations applicable to suit by person under disability?

3)     Was administrator required to commence contract action within two years of Lucille’s death and cessation of her disability?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:

1)     Yes

2)     Yes

3)     No

RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
The application of Wis. Stat. § 893.22 specifies three preconditions in order to be applied:

(1)   A person dies; (2) before the expiration of the time limited for the commencement of an action; and (3) the cause of action survives the person’s death.

  • Curran v. Witter, 68 Wis. 16, 31 N.W. 705

Because death ceased the disability on August 15, 2000, pursuant to § 893.16(1), Walberg had until August 15, 2002, to commence the negligence action on behalf of Lucille.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
    ★★★★★
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
    ★★★★★
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
    ★★★★★
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
    ★★★★★
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.
    ★★★★★