259 S.E.2d 408 (N.C.App. 1979), 7826SC1020, Stanley v. Brown

Docket Nº:7826SC1020.
Citation:259 S.E.2d 408, 43 N.C.App. 503
Party Name:Cynthia Mattie Grayson STANLEY v. Charles W. BROWN.
Case Date:November 06, 1979
Court:Court of Appeals of North Carolina
 
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Page 408

259 S.E.2d 408 (N.C.App. 1979)

43 N.C.App. 503

Cynthia Mattie Grayson STANLEY

v.

Charles W. BROWN.

No. 7826SC1020.

Court of Appeals of North Carolina.

November 6, 1979

Thomas R. Cannon, Charlotte, for plaintiff-appellant.

Golding, Crews, Meekins, Gordon & Gray by John G. Golding, Charlotte, for defendant-appellee.

CLARK, Judge.

Two questions are presented to this Court: What is the appropriate period of limitations for a personal injury action

Page 409

based upon professional malpractice, and when does the statutory period begin to run?

Plaintiff contends that: (1) she was 66 years of age at the time of the operation and she was not skilled enough to perceive that there was an error in defendant's surgical procedure, particularly since she had been told by the defendant that the difficulty she was experiencing was something she was going to have to live with; (2) plaintiff's injury was therefore "not readily apparent" and thus the three-year statute of limitations, N.C.Gen.Stat. § 1-15(b) applies; (3) plaintiff therefore should have had three years from 18 October 1974 within which to file her suit; and (4) plaintiff in fact filed on 14 October 1977 within the three-year period. We do not agree with plaintiff's contentions.

The applicable statute of limitations, N.C.Gen.Stat. § 1-15 provides as follows:

"Statute runs from accrual of action. (a) Civil actions can only be commenced within the periods prescribed in this Chapter, after the cause of action has accrued, except where in special cases a different limitation is prescribed by statute.

[43 N.C.App. 505] (b) Except where otherwise provided by statute, a cause of action, other than one for wrongful death Or one for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services, having as an essential element bodily injury to the person or a defect in or damage to property which originated under circumstances making the injury, defect or damage not readily apparent to the claimant at the time of its origin, is deemed to have accrued at the time the injury was discovered by the claimant, or ought reasonably to have been discovered by him, whichever event first occurs; provided that in such cases the period shall not exceed 10 years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the claim for relief.

(c) Except where otherwise provided by statute, a...

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