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Fuller v. Tucker

California Court of Appeal
101 Cal. Rptr. 2d 776 (2000)


Facts

Annie Fuller (plaintiff) had a bladder-lift surgery in 1995. During this surgery, Fuller sustained a nerve injury that paralyzed her right lower extremity. Dr. James Tucker (defendant) was the anesthesiologist for the Fuller’s surgery. Tucker’s name was not on the anesthesia-consent form. Fuller was illiterate, and no one explained the form to her, including the risks and complications of anesthesia. However, Tucker’s name was included in Fuller’s medical records, and Tucker evaluated Fuller the day after surgery. Fuller noticed extreme weakness in her right leg immediately after surgery. Fuller saw two neurologists about her injury, but neither neurologist told Fuller what caused her nerve injury. Fuller sued several parties, including a John Doe. After the statute of limitations had passed, Fuller filed an amended complaint that named Tucker as the John Doe. Tucker alleged that the claim against him was time-barred. After a bench trial on the timeliness issue, the trial court determined that: (1) Fuller should have known that an anesthesiologist would have a significant role in the surgery and (2) Fuller should have discovered Tucker’s name in her medical records. Based on this, the trial court found that Fuller’s Doe amendment was untimely and granted judgment for Tucker. Fuller appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Aldrich, J.)

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