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Stroth v. North Lincoln County Hospital District

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 23, 2014

HOLLY STROTH, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH ESTATE OF GARY CARL STROTH, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
NORTH LINCOLN COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT, d/b/a STAR VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER, Appellee (Defendant). HOLLY STROTH, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH ESTATE OF GARY CARL STROTH, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
THAYNE AMBULANCE SERVICE (EMS) and TOWN OF THAYNE, WYOMING, Appellees (Defendants).

Appeal from the District Court of Lincoln County The Honorable Dennis L. Sanderson, Judge.

Representing Appellant: William R. Fix, William R. Fix, P.C., Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee, North Lincoln County Hospital District (S-13-0181): W. Henry Combs, III and Andrew F. Sears, Murane and Bostwick, LLC, Casper, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Sears.

Representing Appellees, Thayne Ambulance Service (EMS) and Town of Thayne, Wyoming (S-13-0221): Spencer L. Allred and John D. Bowers, Bowers Law Firm, Afton, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Allred.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, BURKE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

BURKE, Justice.

[¶1] This case involves a claim arising under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act (WGCA), Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-39-101 through -121 (LexisNexis 2009). Appellant, Holly Stroth, as personal representative of the estate of the decedent, Gary Carl Stroth, filed a wrongful death action against the North Lincoln County Hospital District (d/b/a Star Valley Medical Center), the Town of Thayne, Wyoming, and the Thayne Ambulance Service. The district court dismissed the action, finding that Appellant had not filed a notice of claim within two years, as required under the WGCA. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Appellant presents the following issues:

1. Did the district court err when it failed to apply the tolling provision of the Medical Review Panel Act to toll the period for filing a notice of go vernmental claim set forth in the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act?
2. Did the district court err by failing to consider the "continuous treatment" doctrine?

Appellees phrase the issues in a substantially similar manner.

FACTS

[¶3] Appellant pursued an action for wrongful death on behalf of Mr. Stroth's estate based on alleged negligent treatment Mr. Stroth received during transport to, and in the emergency room of, the Star Valley Medical Center. Prior to filing her complaint in the district court, Appellant submitted a notice of claim against the Hospital to the Medical Review Panel[1] on July 6, 2011, and the Hospital waived any further proceedings before the Panel on September 9, 2011. Appellant subsequently presented notice of her claim to the Hospital on October 11, 2012, in an attempt to comply with the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act.[2] The following day, Appellant submitted a second notice of claim to the Medical Review Panel, which added claims against the Town of Thayne and the Thayne Ambulance Service. On October 15, 2012, Appellant filed her complaint in Lincoln County District Court.

[¶4] Appellant's complaint generally alleged that the Hospital and the Ambulance Service were negligent in their care of Mr. Stroth, and that this negligence resulted in Mr. Stroth's wrongful death. The complaint further alleged that the Town of Thayne was vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior "for the acts and omissions of its employees, agents, and representatives, including, but not limited to, employees, staff, and/or emergency medical technicians at Thayne Ambulance Service."[3]Appellant's notice of claim filed with the Medical Review Panel on July 6 was attached ...


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