STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS-MEDICAL MONITORING CLAIM-TOLLING

August 3rd, 2017 by Rieders Travis in Statute of Limitations

Blanyar v. Genova Products, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11685 (3rd Cir. June 30, 2017) Vanaskie, C.J.  Under Pennsylvania law, the statute of limitations for a medical monitoring claim is two (2) years.  The discovery rule tolls the statute of limitations during the plaintiff’s complete inability, due to facts and circumstances not within his control, to discover an injury despite the exercise of due diligence.  The statute of limitations begins to run when the plaintiff knows or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known:  (1) that he has been injured; and (2) that his injury has been caused by another’s conduct.  Plaintiff must use all reasonable diligence to inform himself or herself of the relevant facts.  In a medical monitoring case, the injury occurs when plaintiff is placed at a significantly increased risk of contracting a serious blatant disease.  Thus, for the discovery rule to apply appellants must not have known and reasonably could not have discovered the dangers of chemical exposure two (2) years before the filing of their complaint.  Because none of the appellants have alleged that they have suffered any ill effects due to their work at the chemical plant, they may not be foreclosed from bringing personal injury actions if they later contract diseases related to their alleged occupational exposure.  Although the instant claims for medical monitoring are time barred, the statute of limitations to bring personal injury actions would begin to run anew where appellants manifest symptoms of occupational disease 300 weeks after the last exposure to hazardous substances.