Kenyon v. Hammer

In Kenyon v. Hammer, 142 Ariz. 69, 688 P.2d 961 (1984), the Arizona Supreme Court applied strict scrutiny to a statute of limitations provision that discriminated between two different types of malpractice claims and also between different types of medical malpractice plaintiffs. Kenyon, 142 Ariz. at 83, 688 P.2d at 975. The statute in Kenyon required a plaintiff to bring a medical malpractice claim "within three years 'from the date of injury.'" Id. at 72, 688 P.2d at 964 (quoting A.R.S. 12- 564(A)). The supreme court interpreted the statute to apply at the time injury occurs, regardless of whether the injury is discovered, thus, abolishing the discovery rule. Id. at 76, 688 P.2d at 968. Therefore, the statute discriminated against different classes of medical malpractice plaintiffs--those with discovered injuries versus those with undiscovered injuries. Id. at 83, 688 P.2d at 975. Moreover, the statute "discriminated against those with claims against licensed health care providers as distinguished from all other malpractice claims." Id. The supreme court held that the statute was unconstitutional to the extent that "it purports to abolish or limit the discovery rule in medical malpractice cases." Id. at 87, 688 P.2d at 979.