Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The guarantee of a remedy by due course of law is a substantial right, independent of other constitutional provisions. Although Tex. Const. art. I, §§ 13 and 19 both guarantee due process, the two Texas due course of law provisions are not coterminous. Separate due process and open courts guarantees were included in the seventh and eleventh declarations of rights in the first constitution of Texas as a sovereign republic. These separate rights have been preserved in every constitution since.
Petitioner parents brought an action for wrongful birth and wrongful life against respondents, doctor and hospital, after respondent doctor incorrectly advised them that petitioner mother was not a muscular dystrophy carrier. She gave birth to a child, and shortly after his third birthday, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. In petitioners' action for wrongful birth and wrongful life, the trial court rendered summary judgment for respondents, holding that the two-year statute of limitations had run on the wrongful birth claim and that no cause of action for wrongful life existed under Texas law. The lower appellate court affirmed and petitioners further appealed.
Was the petitioners’ wrongful birth claim barred by the statute of limitations?
The court reversed on the statute of limitations issue and remanded for a trial on petitioner's wrongful birth claims, holding that the two-year statute was unconstitutional under Texas open courts law, to the extent that it cut off a person's right to sue prior to that person having a reasonable opportunity to discover the injury. The court however affirmed on the wrongful life claim, and held that no such cause of action existed under Texas law.