Barrera v. Stewart

Civil Practice

New York Law Journal


Justice Alice Schlesinger

The court had to determine if the extension of the statute of limitations provided in CPLR 214-c, for the commencement of an action to recover damages for personal injury "caused by the latent effects of exposure to any substance," applied when the injury was caused when a metallic tip of a medical device breaks off during surgery and remains in the patient's body. Medtronic moved to dismiss all claims against it, asserting that the metallic tip did not qualify as a "substance" and adding that, at most, patient Barrera had three years of discovery of the metallic tip during a May 2008 x-ray to act, making the 2012 joinder of Medtronic untimely. Barrera asserted that the statute should be broadly construed to carry out its remedial purpose of preserving claims for injured plaintiffs, contending that the statute rendered her claims timely because she interposed them within a few months of December 2011, when she was first able to confirm that Medtronic was the manufacturer of the device that caused her injury. The court granted Medtronic's motion to dismiss all claims against it, noting that the statute was not intended to apply to situations where the information was discerned through ordinary discovery devices.

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