Court dismisses woman's toxic mold exposure claim after Supreme Court eliminates "discovery" rule
Connie Colaianni alleged that she suffered numerous sinus and respiratory problems after her workplace moved into a newly-renovated location in 1998. She did not sue until July of 2003, however, and the landlord argued that her case should be dismissed because it was not in compliance with the three-year statute of limitations. The trial court held that Colaianni did not reasonably discover the basis for her claim until her doctor diagnosed her illness as stemming from toxic mold exposure, and therefore concluded her suit was timely, as it was filed within three years of reasonable discovery.
The Defendants renewed their motion to dismiss, however, after the Engler Majority of the Supreme Court wrote its opinion in Trentadue v. Gorton in 2007. The Court of Appeals panel in Colaianni noted that when the Supreme Court completely repudiated the common law discovery rule in 2007, it undercut the basis for Colaianni's lawsuit. Therefore, the case had to be dismissed on the basis of the three year statute of limitations, even if Colaianni's doctors did not identify the cause of her problems during the statutory limitation period.