Bethune v. Beth Israel Medical Center
OPINION AND ORDER. Defendant Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 8) is granted and the complaint is dismissed. So ordered. re: 8 FIRST MOTION to Dismiss CORRECTED FILING filed by Beth Israel Hospital. (Signed by Judge Louis L. Stanton on 3/25/2016) (rjm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
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TESSA F. BETHUNE,
ELECT RO\IC \l.LY FILED
DOC #: _ _ _=-t---:-=-T-7-DATE FILED: 3/~J'/Jb
15 Civ. 9479 (LLS)
- against OPINION & ORDER
MOUNT SINAI BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL
CENTER, s/h/a BETH ISRAEL HOSPITAL,
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Defendant Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center moves to
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, plaintiff Tessa F. Bethune's claims of negligence and
negligent hiring, training, and supervision of its staff.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) (6).
For the following reasons, the motion
Plaintiff claims monetary damages for her injuries,
including mental damage, resulting from an assault that occurred
while she was a hospital patient in July 2012.
On October 25,
2015, plaintiff filed a summons and complaint in New York County
On December 3, 2015, Defendant Beth Israel
removed the action to the Southern District of New York, and on
December 14, 2015, moved to dismiss the complaint in its
Beth Israel argues, inter alia, that New York's
three-year statute of limitations for negligence claims bars
plaintiff's cause of action.
In a letter dated December 26, 2015, plaintiff requested a
two-week extension to file her papers in opposition.
7, 2016, the court granted that request.
See Dkt. No. 12.
March 8, the court denied plaintiff's subsequent request to
postpone for six months her deadline to file her papers in
opposition to defendant's motion, and directed her to file
papers in opposition by March 22, 2016.
See Dkt. No. 16.
March 16, 2016, plaintiff filed an affidavit of Sororazam
Bethune, her mother, and an affirmation requesting a four-month
extension to file opposition papers.
Regarding plaintiff's mental incapacity, her mother states:
My daughter has been hospitalized in mental units
several occasions since the attack in 2012 under care
of Beth Israel Hospital.
I have been advised by my
attorney Stuart A. Jackson, Esq. that in order to
proceed in this litigation, that I need to obtain an
Affirmation from a Treating Psychiatrist concerning my
daughter's recovery from the mental illness which
caused her repeated hospitalizations in the mental
institutions after the 2012 attack, which I have
Sororazam Bethune Affidavit
"Plaintiff graduated from New York
University in 2011 and has been hospitalized in various mental
institutions for varying periods of time up to the present
Affirmation of Stuart A.
The statute of limitations for a negligence action in New
York is three years.
N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(5).
C.P.L.R. contains a tolling provision, Section 208:
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If a person entitled to commence an action is under a
disability because of infancy or insanity at the time
the cause of action accrues, and the time otherwise
limited for commencing the action is three years or
more and expires no later than three years after the
disability ceases, or the person under the disability
dies, the time within which the action must be
commenced shall be extended to three years after the
disability ceases or the person under the disability
dies, whichever event first occurs.
The insanity toll applies only to "individuals who are
unable to protect their legal rights because of an over-all
inability to function in society."
McCarthy v. Volkswagen of
55 N.Y.2d 543, 548, 450 N.Y.S.2d 457, 459, 435 N.E.2d 1072,
"In order to be eligible for tolling under Section 208,
plaintiffs must also establish that the disability of insanity
was continuous during the relevant period."
(NRB), 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51856, at *10 (S.D.N.Y.
July 25, 2006)
Carter v. Doe, 05
(citing cases); Libertelli v. Hoffman-La Roche,
565 F. Supp. 234, 237
(if at any time the
plaintiff "experienced a lucid interval during which she
regained her ability to protect her legal rights" tolling is
lost and Section 208 does not apply) .
A habeas corpus
petitioner who had no "documentation that his mental illness
kept him from acting with diligence throughout the many years
that need to be tolled for his petition to be timely," the
Second Circuit held in Rios v. Mazzuca, 78 Fed. App'x 742, 744
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(2d Cir. 2003), did not satisfy his burden of proving that he
was entitled to equitable tolling (id. at 745).
Plaintiff's submissions are clear that her periods of
disability from "mental illnessu were not continuous, but
She does not suggest such constant obliteration of
her capacity to function throughout the entire three-year period
as to toll the statute of limitations.
Her claim is therefore
Defendant Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center's motion
(Dkt. No. 8) is granted and the complaint is
Dated: New York, N.Y.
March 25, 2016
Louis L. Stanton
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