on Briefs March 21, 2016.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE DOUGLAS E.
NASSER, JR., JAMES M. NASSER of Nasser Law Offices, PC, Sioux
Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellant.
C. HINTON of Evans, Haigh & Hinton, LLP, Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, Attorneys for defendant and appellee.
Chief Justice. ZINTER, SEVERSON, WILBUR, and KERN, Justices,
[¶1] Barry Thomas Pitt-Hart appeals the
circuit court's order granting summary judgment to
defendant Sanford USD Medical Center. Pitt-Hart argues that
he commenced his action within the three-year statute of
limitations applicable to general-negligence actions and that
the court erred by determining his action was time barred. He
also argues that even if a shorter statute of limitations
applies, it should have been tolled. We affirm.
and Procedural History
[¶2] On November 10, 2009, Pitt-Hart
underwent a knee-replacement surgery at Sanford. The day
after surgery, while Pitt-Hart was still hospitalized at
Sanford, he asked for assistance to get out of bed and travel
to and from the restroom adjoining his hospital room. Mark
Nygard, a patient-care technician employed by Sanford,
assisted Pitt-Hart. While Nygard attempted to help Pitt-Hart
return to his bed, Pitt-Hart fell. Pitt-Hart was discharged
on November 13, 2009.
[¶3] After being discharged, Pitt-Hart began
inpatient rehabilitation at Avera Prince of Peace in Sioux
Falls. Following that, Pitt-Hart underwent outpatient
physical therapy at Prairie Rehabilitation until February 1,
2010. Neither Avera Prince of Peace nor Prairie
Rehabilitation is affiliated with Sanford. In June 2010,
Sanford agreed to provide outpatient physical therapy to
Pitt-Hart at no charge because Medicare would not cover
additional treatments at Prairie Rehabilitation.
Pitt-Hart's outpatient therapy with Sanford concluded on
September 14, 2010.
[¶4] Two years later, in September 2012,
Pitt-Hart sought additional physical therapy for what he
asserts were the continuing effects of the injury resulting
from his fall. Sanford declined to pay for additional
treatment, and Pitt-Hart commenced this action on September
14, 2012, by delivering a summons and complaint to the
Minnehaha County Sheriff for service on Sanford. Sanford
answered the complaint on October 5, 2012. Sanford later
filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that
Pitt-Hart's action was time barred under SDCL
15-2-14.1 as a medical-malpractice claim. The
circuit court agreed and granted Sanford's motion for
[¶5] Pitt-Hart appeals, raising the
following issue: Whether Pitt-Hart's action was time
barred by SDCL 15-2-14.1.
[¶6] " In reviewing a grant or a denial
of summary judgment under SDCL 15-6-56(c), we must determine
whether the moving party demonstrated the absence of any
genuine issue of material fact and showed entitlement to
judgment on the merits as a matter of law." Gades v.
Meyer Modernizing Co., 2015 S.D. 42');">2015 S.D. 42, ¶ 7, 865
N.W.2d 155, 157-58 (quoting Peters v. Great W. Bank,
Inc., 2015 S.D. 4, ¶ 5, 859 N.W.2d 618, 621).
" We view the evidence 'most favorably to the
nonmoving party and resolve reasonable doubts ...