Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 26, 2006

Statutes of Limitations

The first personal representative in Verbrugghe v. Select Spec. Hosp., 270 Mich.App. 383 (Mich.App.), was appointed on December 26, 2001. On December 2, 2003, he filed notice of his intent to bring a medical malpractice suit and thereafter filed suit on June 24, 2004. On September 27, 2004, Suzanne Verbrugghe, the first personal representative’s sister, was issued letters as the successor personal representative. She then proceeded to file a second law suit on October 21, 2004. The trial court dismissed both actions, saying the statute of limitations had run. The appellate court reversed on the second cause of action, saying it was timely filed.

The court first cited MCL 600.5852, which states:

If a person dies before the period of limitations has run or within 30 days after the period of limitations has run, an action which survives by law may be commenced by the personal representative of the deceased person at any time within 2 years after letters of authority are issued although the period of limitations has run. But an action shall not be brought under this provision unless the personal representative commences it within 3 years after the period of limitations has run.

Continuing, the court said:

Under the plain language of the statute…we conclude that plaintiff timely filed this complaint. The decedent died within two years of the cause of action accruing, plaintiff's letters of authority were issued on September 27, 2004, and the complaint was filed less than a month later, on October 21, 2004. Finally, plaintiff commenced this lawsuit before October 14, 2006. Thus, plaintiff's complaint was filed in strict compliance with MCL 600.5852.


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