Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
MARIA LANDA, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF ELIZABETH LANDA, DECEASED, Appellant,
NOE LIRA, M.D. AND JUAN CACERAS, M.D, Appellees.
appeal from the 319th District Court of Nueces County, Texas.
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Chew
WELLINGTON CHEW, JUSTICE
case considers the stay of discovery provisions of §
74.351 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code
involving healthcare liability claims. Appellant Maria Landa,
individually and on behalf of the estate of her daughter
Elizabeth Landa, appeals a no-evidence summary judgment in
favor of appellees Juan Caceras, M.D., and Noe Lira, M.D. In
a single issue, Mrs. Landa asserts the trial court erred in
granting appellees' no-evidence summary judgment motions
because: (1) she did not have adequate time for discovery
pursuant to a discovery stay; and (2) she received inadequate
notice of the summary judgment hearing. We affirm.
Landa was admitted to Christus Spohn Hospital to undergo a
hysterectomy on June 4, 2012. Dr. Caceras, with the
assistance of Dr. Lira, performed the surgery. Elizabeth
suffered complications and died in the hospital on July 22,
September 13, 2014, Mrs. Landa filed suit against appellees
asserting they were negligent in performing the surgery and
failed to timely diagnose Elizabeth post-surgery.
January 21, 2015, Mrs. Landa timely filed a § 74.351
expert report and curriculum vitae of an
obstetrician/gynecologist (expert report). See Tex.
Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 74.351(a). Drs.
Caceras and Lira filed their objections to the expert report
on February 11 and 12, 2015, respectively.
trial court never ruled on the adequacy of Mrs. Landa's
expert report, and the doctors never moved for a dismissal
under § 74.351.
March 31, 2015, Dr. Caceras served Mrs. Landa with his first
request for production and interrogatories; Mrs. Landa timely
responded to the discovery request but did not respond to a
request for designation of her expert witnesses.
Landa's request, a docket control conference was held on
July 15, 2016, and on September 16, 2016, more than two years
after the lawsuit was filed, an "Agreed Order Granting
Special Setting and Docket Control Order" (DCO) was
filed with the trial court. The DCO set November 17, 2016 as
the deadline for Mrs. Landa to identify a testifying expert
witness and provide relevant reports; the appellees'
deadline to do the same was December 28, 2016. The trial
court did not sign the DCO until November 21, 2016, but that
fact is inapposite to our decision here. The DCO also set a
discovery deadline for March 17, 2017 and a trial date for
April 18, 2017.
record before us provides additional litigation chronology.
• On November 2, 2016, the appellees deposed Mrs. Landa.
• On December 28, 2016, Dr. Caceres designated a
testifying expert in compliance with the DCO. Dr. Lira did