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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Parker, while a patient at Meadow Pines Hospital, a private mental health hospital, allegedly suffered injuries related to restraints used on him. He filed suit against the hospital and, after the passage of an appropriate time period, the hospital moved for, and received, dismissal of the suit because of Parker’s failure to file an expert report under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 74.351. Parker’s appeal asserts that the trial court erred by dismissing Parker’s suit based on an apparent finding that Parker alleged only “healthcare liability claims” and also by awarding attorney’s fees to the hospital. HOLDING:The court affirms the trial court’s judgment. The court concludes that Parker’s claims are “healthcare liability claims,” so the dismissal was proper, and that the attorney’s fee award was proper. The court notes that if a plaintiff’s cause of action is a healthcare liability claim, and if the plaintiff fails to file an expert report within the statutory time period, a trial court does not abuse its discretion by dismissing the case with prejudice. If, however, the plaintiff’s claim is not one for healthcare liability, or if the trial court dismissed in the erroneous belief that the plaintiff had failed to file an expert report, then the trial court abused its discretion, and the dismissal must be reversed. Parker argues on appeal that, because the claims relate to non-medical, administrative, ministerial, and routine care, which are within the knowledge of laypersons, expert testimony is not required. The court holds that a cause of action is a healthcare liability claim if, to prove it, the claimant must establish an applicable standard of care for healthcare providers or if the act or omission complained of was “an inseparable part of the rendition of medical services.” Parker’s petition alleges that hospital employees improperly restrained him, failed to have sufficient staff, failed to properly train staff, violated his rights as set out in the Patient’s Bill of Rights, failed to abide by the hospital’s “own standards in the care and treatment” of him, failed to exercise “due care and caution” as to him, and failed to timely and appropriately treat his injuries. The court holds that all of those claims are healthcare claims, because proving them would require establishment of the appropriate standards of care to be used when restraining or otherwise caring for mental patients. Parker also alleged that hospital employees abused, neglected or exploited him and then covered up or misrepresented those wrongs. The court considers those claims of “abuse” and gives them additional scrutiny. The court notes that if employees of the hospital abused Parker in some way unrelated to his course of care or treatment, such as by assaulting him outside of efforts to care for or to restrain him for safety purposes, then claims for such acts would not be healthcare liability claims. But the court finds that, even with a liberal reading of the pleading, there is no allegation of any act committed by anyone who had turned aside from the hospital’s mission to care for and restrain Parker during his course of care. The court finds that all of Parker’s claims would require reference to the standards by which mental health institutions restrain patients. Accordingly, the court holds that the entirety of Parker’s suit is properly characterized as one claiming healthcare liability. Therefore, the court holds that because Parker never filed a medical expert report, the trial court, on the hospital’s motion, was required to dismiss the action with prejudice. As to the trial court’s award to the hospital of attorney’s fees, the court notes that Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 74.351(b)(1) provides that, if an expert report has not been served within the period specified, the trial court, on a proper motion, shall award attorney’s fees and costs of court to the affected party. The court finds nothing dictating the timing of a trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and notes that Parker cites no authority to support the contention that the trial court deferring a finding on the Hospital’s attorney’s fees was improper. Consequently, the court holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by awarding attorney’s fees in the manner it did. OPINION:Morriss, C.J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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