Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
GIA THORNTON, INDIVIDUALLY, AS THE REPRESENTATIVE FOR ALL WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES, AND AS AN HEIR AT LAW AND REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF MCQUESTER J. SOLOMON, DECEASED, Appellant
COLUMBIA MEDICAL CENTER OF PLANO SUBSIDIARY, L.P., D/B/A MEDICAL CITY OF PLANO, FORMALLY KNOWN AS MEDICAL CENTER OF PLANO, AND JANE LEE, RN, Appellees
Appeal from the 429th Judicial District Court Collin County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 429-00366-2018
Justices Myers, Osborne, and Nowell
case concerns giving notice of a health care liability claim
under section 74.051 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies
Code to toll the statute of limitations for seventy-five
days. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§ 74.051. The issue in this case is to whom the
plaintiff must give written notice of the claim when the
health care provider is a limited partnership.
Thornton, individually, as the representative for all
wrongful death beneficiaries, and as an heir at law and
representative of the Estate of McQuester J. Solomon,
deceased, appeals the trial court's order granting the
motion for summary judgment of Columbia Medical Center of
Plano Subsidiary, L.P., d/b/a Medical City of Plano, f/k/a
Medical Center of Plano (Columbia), and Jane Lee, R.N.
Thornton brings one issue on appeal contending the trial
court erred by granting the motion for summary judgment on
the ground that Thornton's lawsuit was filed after the
statute of limitations had expired. We affirm the trial
1997, the hospital was owned by HSP of Texas, Inc. In 1997,
HSP merged with Columbia, and HSP ceased to exist.
years after this merger, McQuester J. Solomon was a patient
at the hospital, and he died there on November 24, 2015.
Thornton asserts she mailed notice of the claim to HSP on
November 30, 2016 by mailing it to HSP's registered
agent, Prentice Hall Corporation System, Inc. in Austin.
However, Thornton states that document has been lost.
November 7, 2017, Thornton's attorney mailed notice of
the claim addressed to "Medical Center of Plano" at
3901 W. 15th Street, Plano, Texas, 75075, which is the
hospital's physical address. The notice was returned to
Thornton's attorney's with a label on the envelope
stating, "RETURN TO SENDER[, ] REFUSED[, ] UNABLE TO
FORWARD." The word "refused" is also
handwritten on the envelope.
January 25, 2018, two years and sixty-two days after
Solomon's death, Thornton filed suit for medical
malpractice against "HSP of Texas, Inc. d/b/a Medical
Center of Plano and Jane Lee, R.N." On March 13, 2018,
Thornton amended her petition, naming appellees, Columbia and
Lee, as the defendants. Thornton served Columbia by serving
its registered agent, CT Corporation, on March 15, 2018. Lee
was not served, but she did file an answer.
filed a motion for summary judgment asserting the two-year
statute of limitations expired, at the latest, on November
24, 2017, and Thornton did not file suit until sixty-two days
later. Appellees also argued that Thornton's giving
notice of the claim to HSP did not constitute notice to
Columbia. Thornton filed a response to the motion for summary
judgment, asserting the November 7, 2017 notice to
"Medical Center of Plano" was sufficient to comply
with section 74.051 and toll the statute of limitations. The
trial court granted appellees' motion for summary
judgment and ordered that Thornton take nothing on her
sole issue on appeal, Thornton contends the trial court erred
by granting appellees' motion for summary judgment on the
ground that Thornton filed suit after the expiration of the
statute of limitations. The standard for reviewing a
traditional summary judgment is well established. See
McAfee, Inc. v. Agilysys, Inc., 316 S.W.3d 820, 825
(Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.). The movant has the burden
of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c). In deciding whether a disputed material
fact issue exists precluding summary judgment, evidence
favorable to the nonmovant will be taken as true. In re
Estate of Berry, 280 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Tex. App.-Dallas
2009, no pet.). Every reasonable inference must be indulged
in favor of the nonmovant and any doubts resolved in its
favor. City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 824
(Tex. 2005). We review a summary judgment de novo to
determine whether a party's right to prevail is
established as a matter of law. Dickey v. Club
Corp., 12 S.W.3d 172, 175 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2000, pet.