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Beverly Vineyard v. Shasta Orthopedic & Sport Medicine et al

August 17, 2011

BEVERLY VINEYARD, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
SHASTA ORTHOPEDIC & SPORT MEDICINE ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS.



(Super. Ct. No. 164985)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mauro , J.

Vineyard v. Shasta Orthopedic and Sport Medicine

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Plaintiff Beverly Vineyard sued defendant Shasta Orthopedic & Sport Medicine (Shasta Orthopedics) and defendant Gary Hartland for negligence following treatment of broken wrists. The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the ground that the action is time-barred, and plaintiff appeals the judgment of dismissal.

The undisputed facts establish that Ms. Vineyard had sufficient information on June 21, 2007, to put her on inquiry notice that defendants may have caused her further injury. Under the applicable limitations period, plaintiff was required to file her lawsuit against defendants within one year, or by June 20, 2008. Because she delayed until December 12, 2008, her lawsuit was untimely. We will affirm the judgment.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed. On October 26, 2005, plaintiff fell at home and injured herself. Immediately after the fall, plaintiff's sister took her to a hospital emergency room where X-rays revealed plaintiff had broken both wrists. Plaintiff was given pain medication, her left arm was put in a sling, and she was told to follow up with defendant Shasta Orthopedics.

The next day, plaintiff had her first visit at Shasta Orthopedics, where she was seen by physician assistant Gary Hartland. Hartland worked with plaintiff throughout the course of her treatment at Shasta Orthopedics. Shasta Orthopedics' records show a determination was made to proceed with non-surgical treatment, to maintain a cast on plaintiff's left wrist, and to follow up again in one week.

By November 1, 2005, her third visit to Shasta Orthopedics, plaintiff's right wrist had improved to the point that she was nearly pain free, but her left wrist continued to trouble her. She returned to Shasta Orthopedics twice in November 2005, and twice in December 2005. By December, plaintiff recognized that she "wasn't getting better" and she was "concerned about how [Hartland had] been handling [her] case up to this point."

By the time of her January 25, 2006, visit to Shasta Orthopedics, her left wrist was still painful and, in fact, she felt it had gotten worse, because of the pain and how her wrist and arm looked and were positioned. She decided to call Dr. Richard N. Cross, an orthopedic surgeon who had previously treated her for a shoulder injury.

Dr. Cross examined and X-rayed plaintiff's wrist on March 23, 2006. Dr. Cross noted that, since her injury, plaintiff had developed persistent pain and "significant deformity" to her left wrist following treatment at Shasta Orthopedics and was very unhappy with how her wrist looked and functioned. He told plaintiff this type of fracture is difficult to treat without surgery and that she needed surgery. When plaintiff asked Dr. Cross how he would have handled her wrist care at the outset, he responded he would have recommended surgery. "Due to the deformity and dysfunction of [plaintiff's] wrist and hand[,]" Dr. Cross ultimately recommended plaintiff be examined by an orthopedic hand specialist, Dr. Tortosa, for evaluation, and plaintiff agreed.

Plaintiff was examined on April 11, 2006, by Dr. Tortosa; he recommended reconstructive surgery to her wrist. Surgery proceeded on May 10, 2006. Dr. Tortosa performed more surgery on ...


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