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Legislative Action Introduced to Limit the Reach of Chapter 74

by E. Dale Burrus, JD, LLM on March 7th, 2013

As was reported on August 26, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court in West Oaks Hospital v. Williams expanded the reach of Chapter 74 to include non-patients as “claimants” and to define “safety” as not necessarily related to health care. This has led to a number cases of non-patient slips and falls in hospitals being dismissed for failure to have an expert report. In response, Democrat Representative Chris Turner has proposed a bill (HB 2644) that will overturn the Williams ruling. In this bill filed on March 6, 2013, “claimant” as defined under §74.001 will mean a patient or representative of the patient, not a non-patient. Further, “safety” would be only related to healthcare and would specifically exclude any cases related to employment law or premises liability cases.  We will follow this bill to see if the Williams case will be overturned by the legislature.

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