In Gaines v. Preterm Cleveland, Inc. the Ohio Supreme Court reversed prior law in two significant areas of medical malpractice.
First, the court held that, "a plaintiff in a medical malpractice action who reasonably did not discover the cause of their injuries until more than three years after the act constituting the alleged malpractice may not be constitutionally deprived of a full year to pursue a medical claim by virtue of the four-year statute of repose contained in R.C. 2305. II(B)."
Secondly, the court held that, "a positive misrepresentation of a patient's condition, upon which the patient reasonably relies to his detriment, constitutes a cause of action in fraud independent of any claim of malpractice." Following Gaines, a litigant in a medical malpractice action involving fraudulent misrepresentation may be able to utilize the four year statute of limitations for fraud, thereby extending the tolling of the statute from one year to four years. The decision also removes the absolute time bar for all medical malpractice litigants and allows them to bring a cause of action within one year of the date of discovery of the malpractice.
Dieringer, Sharon L.
"Statute of Limitations in Ohio Medical Malpractice An Old Trend Returns and a New Trend Evolves,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 22
, Article 5.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol22/iss1/5