Claim of Nursing Home Employee Stabbed by Resident That Employer Failed to Warn of Danger Not Subject to Malpractice Statute of Limitation

A nurse working at a nursing home was stabbed repeatedly by a resident, resulting in multiple injuries. Five years later she sued various administrators of the nursing home, alleging breach of a personal duty of care by, among other things, allowing the plaintiff to care for the resident without providing proper safeguards and failing to warn the plaintiff of the resident’s violent history and dangerous nature.


The defendants’ motions to dismiss were granted on the ground that the claims were barred by a two-year statute of limitations for claims relating to health care. The plaintiff appealed.


The appellate court held that some of the plaintiff’s allegations of negligence related to health care because they concerned isolating, securing, restraining, or otherwise safeguarding the resident. A nursing home provides custody as a health care service. Any act or omission related to the custody of a patient is related to health care. These allegations were properly dismissed as barred by the two-year statute of limitations.


However, the court also held that the relationship between any allegations concerning the defendants’ failure to warn the plaintiff of the resident’s violent history was not a health care related claim and thus was not subject to two-year statute of limitations on health care claims. The allegations were not based on any error or mistake with regard to health care services rendered to the resident. Therefore, these allegations were not barred by this statute of limitations. The trial court’s judgment was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.


See: Spero v. Mason, 2012 WL 1392599 (Mo. App. W.D.  Apr 24, 2012) (not designated for publication).