Earlier this month the North Carolina Supreme Court issued its opinion in King v. Albemarle Hospital Authority, holding that a GAL appointment starts the running of the statute of limitations for a minor’s medical malpractice claim. During her birth in 2005, the plaintiff, Desiree King, suffered a severe brain injury. In 2008, just under three years later, a medical malpractice action was filed on her behalf by the guardian ad litem (GAL) who had been appointed for her earlier the same day pursuant to Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b). A few months later, the GAL voluntarily dismissed the action without prejudice as permitted by Rule 41(a). Instead of refiling Desiree’s action within one year as Rule 41(a) allows, the GAL refiled in 2015, about six years later. On the hospital’s motion, the trial court dismissed Desiree’s action as time-barred.Continue Reading
A plaintiff facing a soon-to-expire limitations period may feel a rush of relief when the complaint is clocked in to the clerk’s office on time and the summons is ready for service. Even after filing, though, it’s too early to stop watching the clock. Failing to observe Rule 4’s time limits on service can also create a statute of limitations problem.Continue Reading
An equitable distribution judgment was entered 11 years ago. The order states plaintiff is entitled to a percentage of defendant’s retirement pay when defendant begins to receive it. The judgment also states that plaintiff’s counsel will draft a QDRO. Now it is time for defendant to retire but no one ever drafted a QDRO. Is there a problem? Can the court enter one now?