Board of Claims Action tolled pr KRS 413.270: COMMONWEALTH V. DOUGLAS (COA 7/18/2008)

      v. DOUGLAS
TORTS:  BOARD OF CLAIM, Tolling the statute of limitations
      DATE RENDERED: 7/18/2008

Medical negligence claims filed by the estate against UK Hospital and the
Chandler Medical Center were dismissed by the circuit court as being barred by sovereign immunity.
Three months later, the Estate and the five minor children filed a complaint with the Board of
Claims and the Chandler Medical Center sought dismissal of all claims as untimely. After briefing and hearings, the Board entered an order in March 2002, dismissing the claims of the minor children.
However, the Estate’s claim was found to be timely filed under the tolling provisions of Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 413.270.
Chandler Medical Center contends that claims properly pursued before the Board of Claims, pursuant to KRS Chapter 44, are not affected by the tolling statute.
The Board of Claims Act sets a one-year statute of limitations for filing claims against the Commonwealth. KRS 44.110(1).

COA rejected the hospitals argument and applied KRS 413.270 to suits against the Commonwealth. The statute provides for tolling where a court determines that it has no jurisdiction of an action, timely filed in good faith, and allows such action to be transferred to the appropriate court. KRS 413.270(1).
Subsection (2) clearly defines courts as “all courts, commissions, and boards which are judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals authorized by the Constitution or statutes of the Commonwealth of Kentucky[.]” The Board of Claims, which functions as a judicial or quasi-judicial body, is clearly encompassed within this definition.
TThe dismissal of the Estate’s claim by the circuit court for lack of jurisdiction properly triggered the tolling provisions of KRS 413.270 and allowed the claim to be refiled with the Board of Claims within ninety days.

Digested by Michael Stevens

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