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Yetter Coleman Wins Affirmance of Dismissal of Constitutional Claims Against Houston Methodist Hospital

In a unanimous opinion issued March 26, 2019, the Houston Court of Appeals affirmed an order dismissing as moot claims against our client, Houston Methodist Hospital.

The plaintiff had sued Houston Methodist for allegedly violating due-process provisions of the U.S. and Texas Constitutions by employing the procedures in Texas Health & Safety Code §166.046 to discontinue life-sustaining treatment to her adult son, a terminally ill cancer patient. Houston Methodist agreed to continue life-sustaining treatment until the trial court decided the issue in the suit. Before the court could rule, the patient died of natural causes. Because he died while still receiving life-sustaining treatment, the trial court granted Houston Methodist’s motion to dismiss the suit as moot without addressing the constitutional claims.

Our appellate team, led by Reagan Simpson and assisted by Shane Pennington, presented oral argument to the Court of Appeals on March 19, 2019, urging it to reject the constitutional challenge. A week later, the panel issued its opinion. The Court agreed that the claims are moot, and it affirmed the dismissal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.