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Garcia v. Parenteau

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Hancock

November 13, 2017

LUCIANO GARCIA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
GARY J. PARENTEAU, M.D., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.

         Appeal from Hancock County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 2014-CV-0360.

          Tim Van Eman for Appellants

          Martin T. Galvin and Donald J. Moracz for Appellees

          OPINION

          WILLAMOWKSI, J.

         {¶1} Plaintiffs-appellants Luciano Garcia ("Luciano") and Nora Garcia ("Nora") appeal the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Hancock County for granting the defendants-appellees' motion for summary judgment. In particular, Luciano and Nora argue that the trial court erred by (1) finding that Dr. David J. Meier, M.D. ("Dr. Meier") and Luciano did not have a physician-patient relationship and (2) determining that the plaintiff-appellants filed their complaint against Dr. Meier and Blanchard Valley Medical Associates, Inc. ("BVMA") outside of the time period permitted under the statute of limitations for medical-malpractice claims. For the reasons set forth below, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On October 4, 2012, Dr. Gary L. Parenteau, M.D. ("Dr. Parenteau") performed a coronary artery bypass surgery on Luciano at the Blanchard Valley Hospital. Doc. 1, 17. On July 23, 2014, Luciano and Nora filed a complaint with the Hancock County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that Dr. Parenteau and Cardiac, Vascular, and Thoracic Surgery of Northwest Ohio had committed medical malpractice. Doc. 1. On December 17, 2014, Luciano and Nora filed an amended complaint that sought to add Dr. Michael R. Denike, D.O. ("Dr. Denike") and Specialty Physicians of Blanchard Valley, LLC as defendants to this action. Doc. 26. On December 11, 2015, Luciano and Nora filed a second amended complaint that sought to add Dr. Meier and BVMA as defendants to this action. Doc. 63.

         {¶3} On December 21, 2015, Dr. Meier and BVMA filed an answer to the plaintiffs' second amended complaint in which they raised the affirmative defense of the statute of limitations. Doc. 69. On February 25, 2016, Dr. Meier and BVMA filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs had not filed the second amended complaint within the period allowed under the statute of limitations. Doc. 78. Dr. Meier and BVMA also argued that no physician-patient relationship had been formed between Dr. Meier and Luciano. Doc. 78. On October 24, 2016, the trial court granted this motion for summary judgment. Doc. 116. In this order, the trial court determined that no physician-patient relationship had been formed between Dr. Meier and Luciano. Doc. 116. As a result, the trial court found that Dr. Meier had no professional duty to Luciano and could not have, therefore, been liable of the medical malpractice claim in Luciano's complaint. Doc. 116. The trial court also found that the statute of limitations barred this claim. Doc. 116.

         {¶4} Luciano and Nora filed notice of appeal on June 8, 2017. Doc. 165. On appeal, plaintiffs raise the following two assignments of error:

First Assignment of Error
The trial court erred by finding that no physician-patient relationship existed between Mr. Garcia and Dr. Meier.
Second Assignment of Error
The trial court erred by finding that Plaintiffs' claims against Meier and BVMA were not filed within the statute of limitations set by R.C. 2305.113(A).

         For the sake of analytical clarity, we will begin with the second assignment of error and then proceed ...


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