Merkle v. Robinson

737 So. 2d 540 (1999)

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Merkle v. Robinson

Florida Supreme Court
737 So. 2d 540 (1999)

Facts

Carrie Robinson (defendant) was born in West Virginia in 1977. Robinson suffered injuries during her birth caused by Dr. Carmello Terlizzi’s negligence. At the time of Robinson’s birth, Terlizzi was a West Virginia resident. Several years later, Terlizzi retired and moved to Florida. Terlizzi died in Florida in 1987. After Terlizzi’s death, Robinson, through her mother, sued Terlizzi’s estate (plaintiff) for medical malpractice. The trial court dismissed Robinson’s lawsuit as untimely, holding that it was barred by Florida’s two-year statute of limitations for medical-malpractice claims. Robinson appealed, arguing that her claim was not barred under West Virginia’s significantly longer statute of limitations. The district court reversed, holding that (1) West Virginia’s statute of limitations should be applied to Robinson’s claim because West Virginia had a more significant relationship with Robinson’s claim than Florida did; and (2) because Robinson’s claim was not barred by West Virginia’s statute of limitations, it should be allowed to proceed. Because the district court’s ruling conflicted with a ruling in a similar case from another district court, the district court certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court about whether the significant-relationship test applied to cases in which the underlying claim was time-barred by Florida’s applicable statute of limitations.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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