Type: News
Date: 12/23/2020

Taft Obtains Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Cases in Ohio Supreme Court Appeal

The Ohio Supreme Court today issued a decision that is a major victory for Ohio doctors, hospitals, and health care providers, and the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who work for them, preserving a statutory framework enacted by the Ohio legislature as part of its efforts to reduce the costs of healthcare of all Ohioans.

Taft represented Dr. Abubakar Atiq Durrani and Center for Advanced Spine Technologies in the Ohio Supreme Court case titled Wilson v. Durrani, which involved the complex statutory question of whether Ohio’s reversal saving statute extended the four-year medical malpractice statute of repose. Hundreds of patients had sued Dr. Durrani for medical malpractice in Butler County, Ohio. After several trials ended in defense verdicts, the remaining plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their Butler County cases and filed new lawsuits in Hamilton County within one year of the dismissal. The new lawsuits were filed after the four-year statute of repose ended, but plaintiffs argued that Ohio’s saving statute extended the repose period by one year because the new lawsuits were substantially the same as the old lawsuits.

In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with Taft and its clients and rejected plaintiffs’ reading of the statutes. The Court ruled that Ohio’s medical claim statute of repose is a “true statute of repose that, except as expressly stated in [the repose statute], clearly and unambiguously precludes the commencement of a medical claim more than four years after the occurrence of the alleged act or omission that forms the basis of the claim.”

“This is one of the most significant healthcare-related cases to come before the Ohio Supreme Court in the last several decades. The Court’s decision today will end hundreds of lawsuits brought against Taft’s clients and many other medical professionals across Ohio, as well as provide health care providers and all Ohioans greater certainty about when a medical malpractice case must be brought,” Taft partner and litigation practice co-chair Russell Sayre said.  

Cincinnati litigation partners Aaron Herzig and Russell Sayre, together with associates Philip Williamson and Anna Greve, expertly crafted Taft’s post-trial and appellate arguments on this issue in order to get a favorable result from the Ohio Supreme Court. Herzig argued the case before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Herzig is a leader of Taft’s firmwide appellate practice, briefing and arguing appeals in federal and state courts, and counseling clients regarding complex federal practice and appellate matters. Sayre is co-chair of Taft’s firmwide commercial litigation practice. Over the course of his nearly 30-year career, he has litigated cases across numerous state and federal courts. Williamson, who will become a Taft partner on Jan. 1, 2021, has briefed appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple U.S. Courts of Appeals, as well as state appellate courts. Greve has briefed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court and has briefed appeals in the Sixth Circuit, as well as the state appellate courts.

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