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Friday, April 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Oklahoma Law Singles Out Malpractice Cases

(CN) - An Oklahoma law imposing a statute of limitations on medical negligence complaints is unconstitutional because it treats medical cases differently than other cases, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled.

The family of Shirley Woods sued the Unity Health Center, but the trial court dismissed the case because the defendant was not served with a summons within 180 days of filing.

The Woods family then challenged the constitutionality of the law, and Justice Winchester agreed, citing the court's 2006 decision in Zeier v. Zimmer Inc.

That case was another successful constitutional challenge to a law that required a medical malpractice claimant to attach an affidavit of merit to the petition.

"Just as the statute in Zeier impermissibly singled out medical negligence plaintiffs for different procedural treatment, so too does (this statute)," Winchester wrote. "We determine that is an unconstitutional special law."

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