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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Janice L. Park v. Jessica J. Spayd (5/20/2022) sp-7594

Janice L. Park v. Jessica J. Spayd (5/20/2022) sp-7594

          Notice:  This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the PACIFIC  REPORTER.  

          Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts,  

          303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email  

          corrections@akcourts.gov.  



                      THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA                                   



JANICE  L.  PARK,                                                  )  

                                                                   )   Supreme  Court  No.  S-17743  

                               Appellant,                          )  

                                                                                                                               

                                                                   )   Superior Court No. 3AN-19-09443 CI  

          v.                                                       )  

                                                                                           

                                                                   )   O P I N I O N  

                    

JESSICA J. SPAYD,                                                  )  

                                                                                                        

                                                                   )  No. 7594 - May 20, 2022  

                               Appellee.                           )  

                                                                   )  



                                                                                                          

                                                

                     Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                                                                                                 

                     Judicial District, Anchorage, Peter R. Ramgren, Judge.  



                                                                                                                   

                     Appearances:  Janice L. Park, pro se, Anchorage, Appellant.  

                                                                                                             

                     Steven  M.  Wells,  Steven  M.  Wells,  P.C., Anchorage,  for  

                     Appellee.  



                                                                                                    

                     Before:           Winfree,         Chief       Justice,       Maassen,          Carney,  

                                                                 

                     Borghesan, and Henderson, Justices.  



                                               

                     BORGHESAN, Justice.  



I.        INTRODUCTION  



                                                                                                                                 

                     In 2019awoman sued her former husband's medicalprovider, alleging that  



                                                                                                                   

from 2003 to 2010 the provider negligently prescribed the man opioid medications,  



                                                                                                                          

leading to his addiction, damage to the couple's business and marital estate, the couple's  



                                                                                                                                  

divorce in 2011, and ultimately the man's death in 2017.  The superior court ruled the  



                                                                                                                                 

claims were barred by the statute of limitations and rejected the woman's argument that  



                                                                                                                                  

the provider should be estopped from relying on a limitations defense.   Because the  


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

undisputed evidence shows that by 2010 the woman had knowledge of her alleged                                                                                                                                                                  



injuries, the provider's alleged role in causing those injuries, and the provider's alleged                                                                                                                                                      



negligence, we conclude that the claims accrued at that time and were no longer timely                                                                                                                                                             



when filed in 2019.                                          And because the record does not show that the woman's failure to                                                                                                                                    



timely file her claims stemmed from reasonable reliance on fraudulent conduct by the                                                                                                                                                                         



provider, we conclude that equitable estoppel does not apply.                                                                                                                                        We therefore affirm                           



summary judgment in the provider's favor.                                                                        



II.                 FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS                         



                                                                                                                                                                                              1  

                                         Janice Park was married to Jalal Keith Husseini.                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The couple initiated a  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               2 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ),  with  

divorce in 2007, which was finalized in 2011 (after an appeal to this court 



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Husseini owing Park a substantial sum.   Husseini died of a drug overdose in 2017,  



                                                                                                                      

apparently without paying this debt to Park.  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                         In October 2019 Park, representing herself, sued Jessica Spayd in superior  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

court.  According to the complaint Spayd, a registered nurse, had recently been arrested  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

by federal authorities for unlawfully distributing opioid medications.  Park alleged that  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Husseini  had  been  a  patient  of  Spayd's  and  that  beginning  in  2003  Spayd  had  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

overprescribed opioid medications to Husseini, who became dependent on them.  Park  



                                                                                                                                 

alleged that by 2005 she was "distraught" over Husseini's dependence on opioids and  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

that in 2007 she reported Spayd's prescription practices to authorities at the Alaska  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Department of Commerce's Board of Nursing.   Park alleged that "[a]s a direct and  



                     1                   Our discussion of negligence, injuries, and other alleged facts in this case                                                                                                                                     



are drawn solely from Park's allegations.                                                                                      Because the superior court resolved the case                                                                              

on summary judgment, we assume the truth of the facts alleged in Park's pleadings and                                                                                                                                                                      

affidavits for purposes of this appeal.                                                                            We note that Spayd expressly declined to admit     

any of those allegations as true.                                                 



                    2                   Husseini v. Husseini, 230 P.3d 682 (Alaska 2010).  

                                                                                                                                                                               



                                                                                                                               -2-                                                                                                                      7594
  


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proximate result of the emotional and physical addiction from which Husseini suffered,                                                                                                                                                                



he and Park fought over his addiction, ultimately ending the marriage"; further, the                                                                                                                                                        



"value of the marital estate diminished as the direct and proximate result of Husseini's                                                                                                                                                        



drug dependence and reliance upon Spayd for his supply."                                                                                                                                   The complaint alleged that                                                



 Spayd was liable under theories of negligence and professional malpractice for damages                                                                                                                                                               



including    medical    expenses;    "[l]ost    business   and    marital    property";    "[l]oss    of  



consortium[,] anxiety, fear, and other emotional distress;" and "[l]oss of [Park's] court[-]                                                                                                                                                              



ordered marital settlement."                       



                                           Spayd filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the limitations                                                                                                                             



period for Park's claims had expired and that the case should be dismissed.                                                                                                                                                                                 Spayd  



argued that Park's claims were untimely under either the two-year limitations period                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                 3     or  the  six-year  period  applicable  to  certain  professional  

applicable   to   tort  claims                                                                                                                                                                                                           

malpractice claims.4                                                  Spayd invoked the "discovery rule," under which "the cause of  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



action accrues when the plaintiff has information sufficient to alert a reasonable person  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                             5     Spayd maintained that Park herself  

to the fact that he has a potential cause of action."                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                    



had alleged that by 2005 she was aware she was being harmed by Husseini's addiction  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



and that by 2007 she had become suspicious enough of Spayd's prescribing practices to  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



alert licensing authorities. Accordingly, Spayd argued, Park was on inquiry notice of her  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



                     3                    AS 09.10.070(a).   



                     4  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                          Preblich v. Zorea, 996 P.2d 730, 733, 734 n.11 (Alaska 2000) (citing  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

former AS 09.10.050 (1994)).  Spayd's reference to a six-year limitations period for  

malpractice   claims   was   incorrect.     Although   the   applicable   limitations   period  was  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

formerly six years, it was shortened to three years in 1997.  AS 09.10.053; Christianson  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

v. Conrad-Houston Ins., 318 P.3d 390, 396 (Alaska 2014); Preblich, 996 P.2d at 734  

n.11.   The superior court used the correct statutory period in its subsequent decision.                                                                                                                                                                                      



                     5                    Pedersen v. Zielski, 822 P.2d 903, 908 (Alaska 1991).  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



                                                                                                                                    -3-                                                                                                                           7594
  


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potential cause of action by 2007, and the limitations period for her claims expired by       



 2013 at the latest - well before the complaint was filed in 2019.                                                                                      



                                   Park moved for a continuance under Alaska Civil Rule 56(f) to obtain                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                               6   In support  

 additional discovery - specifically to obtain affidavits of expert witnesses.                                                                                                                            



 of this motion Park submitted an affidavit describing certain details about the timeline  

                                                                                                                                                             



 of events.  She stated that when she complained to the Board of Nursing in 2007, the  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



 Board took no action on her complaint.  Park did "not pursue the matter further" and at  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



 that time "did not know the full extent of [Spayd's] malpractice."  But she said that after  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



 a 2010 court order in connection with Park's divorce gave Park access to records of the  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



business she had shared with Husseini, Park found Husseini's "extensive drug receipts  

                                                                                                                                                                                                          



 . . . and realized the full measure of [Spayd's] gross negligence."  The superior court  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                



 granted "a single extension of time" for Park to conduct discovery and file an opposition  

                                                                                                                                                                                                   



by January 3, 2020, but indicated that it did not see how the discovery Park sought would  

                                                                                                                                                                                                              



be relevant to the limitations issue.  

                                                                           



                                   Park then opposed summary judgment.  She submitted an affidavit setting  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             



 forth additional facts relevant to when the limitations period began to run.  Park stated  

                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 that she did not know she had a cause of action against Spayd until Spayd was arrested  

                                                                                                                                                                                                         



 in October 2019.  In regard to Park's complaint about Spayd to the Board of Nursing,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                       



 Park stated that the Board "told [Park] there was no basis for the complaint" and that she  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



 "believed that ended the matter."  She further explained that she "did not consider filing  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                



                  6                Alaska R. Civ. P. 56(f) ("Should it appear from the affidavits of a party                                                                                                  



 opposing the motion that the party cannot for reasons stated present by affidavit facts                                                                                                  

 essential  to   justify   the   party's   opposition,   the   court   may   refuse   the   application   for  

judgment or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or depositions                                                                                                          

 to be taken or discovery to be had or may make such other order as is just.").                                                                                                     



                                                                                                           -4-                                                                                                   7594
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                                                                                                                              

a civil case until Spayd was arrested [in] 2019 for the same conduct of which [Park] had  



                                                                                                                                     

complained" and that she now believed the Board of Nursing's decision "was wrong."  



                                                                                                                      

                    At a subsequent hearing, Park told the superior court that she had requested  



                                                                                                                       

discovery from Spayd but had not received it; she asked the court to compel Spayd's  



                                                                                                                              

response before ruling on summary judgment.  The superior court declined, stating that  



                                                                                                                            

Park had not explained how discovery would be relevant to the limitations issue.  



                                                                                                                       

                    On the day of oral argument Park filed another memorandum with the  



                                                                                                                   

superior court.  Park raised the possibility that Spayd had provided false or misleading  



                                                                                                               

information to the Board of Nursing during its investigation undertaken in response to  



                                                                                                                                

Park's complaint.  If so, Park argued, then the limitations period should be tolled or  



                                                                                                                               

Spayd should be estopped from asserting a limitations defense. Park maintained that she  



                                                                                                                            

was entitled to discovery of Spayd's correspondence with the Board to explore these  



issues.  



                                                                                                                                

                    At oral argument, Park again argued that the limitations period should be  



                                                                                                                        

tolled until Spayd's arrest in October 2019. She also reiterated that discovery of Spayd's  



                                                                                                                             

communications with the Board was needed to address the limitations defense.   The  



                                                                                                                               

superior court stated on the record that it did not view Spayd's communications with the  



                                                                

Board as relevant to the limitations issue.  



                                                                                                                                

                    The superior court ruled that Park's claims were barred by the statute of  



                                                                                                                             

limitations. The court first determined that Park's negligence claimwas subject to a two- 



                                                                                                                                     

year limitations period and that her malpractice claim was subject to a three-year period.  



                                                                                                                                 

The court accepted for purposes of summary judgment the truth of the allegations in  



                                                                                                                                 

Park's complaint and affidavits.  Nevertheless it agreed with Spayd's argument that, in  



                                                                                                                             

light of Park's report to the Board of Nursing in 2007, Park's claims accrued at that time  



                                                               -5-                                                         7594
  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

because Park was aware then of all the elements of her malpractice and negligence                                                                                                                                                           



claims.   It therefore ruled that the limitations period expired in 2010.                                                                                                                             



                                          The court then rejected Park's argument that Spayd should be estopped                                                                                                                                    



from relying on the statute of limitations. The court acknowledged Park's assertion that                                                                                                                                                                            



the Board's inaction on Park's complaint against Spayd must have been the result of                                                                                                                                                                                     



 Spayd providing misleading information to the Board.                                                                                                                            But the court concluded that                                                      



"despite receiving an extension of time to obtain discovery," Park had not presented any                                                                                                                                                                            



evidence indicating fraudulent conduct that she had relied on in declining to file suit                                                                                                                                                                            



                      7  

earlier.   



                                          Finally,thecourtrejected Park'sequitabletolling argument. Observingthat  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



the limitations period may be tolled while a party pursues a separate legal remedy, the  

                                                                                                                                                                                             



court reasoned that Park's complaint to the Board of Nursing did not toll the limitations  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



period because the Board did not have authority to give Park any relief for her injuries.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



                                          Parkmoved for reconsideration. Sheargued that thecourt's rejection ofher  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



equitable estoppel argument for lack of evidence overlooked that the court had allowed  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



Park only a brief extension to obtain discovery and that Spayd had not responded to  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



Park's discovery requests.  Park also argued that evidence of Spayd's dishonesty was  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



described in an FBI agent's affidavit submitted in connection with Spayd's 2019 arrest,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



thus creating a dispute of material fact on the estoppel issue.  

                                                                                                                                                                            



                                          The superior court denied reconsideration. Regarding the discovery issue,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



the  court  ruled  that  Park  had  failed  to  show  that  she  "exercised  due  diligence  in  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



attempting to uncover the concealed facts" or that further discovery would have yielded  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



                     7                    Equitable estoppel requires "evidence of fraudulent conduct upon which                                                                                                                                            



 [the plaintiff] reasonably relied when forebearing from the suit."                                                                                                                                       Pedersen, 822 P.2d at                                           

908-09 (quoting                                     Gudenau & Co. v. Sweeney Ins.                                                                        , 736 P.2d 763, 769 (Alaska 1987)).                                                                                



                                                                                                                                    -6-                                                                                                                         7594
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

material evidence.                         As to the FBI affidavit, the court observed that although it described                                                            



 egregious conduct by Spayd between 2014 and 2019, it contained no evidence of earlier                                                                                               



 fraudulent conduct on which Park might have reasonably relied in declining to bring suit.                                                                                                           



                              Park appeals.   



 III.           STANDARD OF REVIEW                        



                              We review de novo a grant of summary judgment and will affirm only if                                              



there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment                                                                                     



                                           8  

 as a matter of law.                                                                                                                                                   

                                                All reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the non-moving  



              9  

party.                                                                                                                                                                                

                   "[S]ummary judgment is appropriate only when no reasonable person could  



                                                                                                                          10  

                                                                                                                                

 discern a genuine factual dispute on a material issue." 



                                                                                                                                                                               

                               "[A] non-moving party does not need to prove anything to defeat summary  



                          11 

                                                                                                                                                                           

judgment."                     However "a non-moving party cannot create a genuine issue of material  



                                                                                                                                                                                            

 fact merely by offering admissible evidence - the offered evidence must not be too  



                                                                                                                                                                                 

 conclusory,  too  speculative,  or  too  incredible  to  be  believed,  and  it  must  directly  



                                                                                               12  

                                                                                                                                                                                             

 contradict the moving party's evidence."                                                             "Any dispute [of fact] must not only be  



                                                                                                                                                                              

 genuine and material[] but [must also] arise from admissible evidence, such as affidavits  



                                                                                                                13  

                                                                                                                     

recounting personal knowledge of specific facts." 



                8             Parker v. Tomera                         , 89 P.3d 761, 765 (Alaska 2004).
                           



               9              Id.
  



                10  

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                               Christensen v. Alaska Sales &Serv., Inc., 335 P.3d 514, 520 (Alaska 2014).
  



                11            Id.  at 516.   



                12  

                                                               

                              Id. (emphasis omitted).  



                13  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                              Kaiser v. Sakata, 40 P.3d 800, 803 (Alaska 2002) (quoting Brady v. State,  

                                                                                                                                                                     (continued...)  



                                                                                               -7-                                                                                      7594
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

IV.       DISCUSSION  



                                                                                                                 

          A.        Park's Claims Are Barred By The Applicable Limitations Statutes.  



                                                                                                                              14  

                                                                                                                                  

                    A claim that is not filed within the applicable limitations period is barred. 



                                                                                                                          

A personal injury claim, such as Park's negligence claim against Spayd, must be filed  

                                                                                    15  A professional malpractice  

within two years of the date on which the claim accrues. 



                                                                                                                            

claim alleging economic harms, such as Park's malpractice claim alleging damage to her  



                                                                                                                              16  

                                                                                                                        

marital business and marital estate, must be filed within three years of the accrual date. 



                                                                                                        17 

                                                                                                                            

                    A cause of action generally accrues at the time of injury.                              But under the  



                                                                                                                  

discovery rule, the limitations period does not begin to run until the plaintiff discovers,  



                                                                                                                         

or reasonably should have discovered, the existence of all essential elements of the cause  

              18  The elements of negligence and professional malpractice are duty, breach,  

                                                                                                                      

of action. 

causation, and damages.19  

                                                                                     

                                        "We look to the date when a reasonable person has enough  



          13        (...continued)  



                                  

965 P.2d 1, 8 (Alaska 1998)).  



          14        Miller  v.  Fowler,  424  P.3d  306,  311  (Alaska  2018).  



          15        AS  09.10.070(a)(2).  



          16        AS  09.10.053;   Christianson v.   Conrad-Houston  Ins.,  318  P.3d  390,  396  



(Alaska   2014)   ("Alaska   applies   a   three-year   statute   of   limitations   for   professional  

                   

malpractice actions.").  



          17        Gefre v. Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, 306 P.3d 1264, 1274 (Alaska 2013).  

                                                                                                                        



          18        Id. at 1274-75. The common-law discovery rule "developed as a means to  

                                                                                                                              

mitigate the harshness that can result fromthe [accrual] rule's preclusion of claims where  

                                                                                                                        

the injury provided insufficient notice of the cause of action to the plaintiff." Id. at 1274  

                                                                                                                          

(alteration in original) (quoting Cameron v. State, 822 P.2d 1362, 1365 (Alaska 1991)).  

                                                                                                                                  



          19        Christianson, 318 P.3d at 398; Shooshanian v. Wagner, 672 P.2d 455, 464  

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                            (continued...)  



                                                              -8-                                                        7594
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

information to alert that person that he or she has a potential cause of action or should                             



                                                                              20  

begin an inquiry to protect his or her rights."                                    



                       The date on which the limitations period begins to run depends on whether  

                                                                                                                                         



the plaintiff actually made an inquiry upon receiving information that should prompt the  

                                                                                                                                                  

plaintiff  to  do  so.21                If  the  plaintiff  did  make  an  inquiry,  and  if  the  inquiry  was  

                                                                                                                                               

unproductive, the question becomes whether the inquiry was reasonable.22                                                               If it was  

                                                                                                                                                



reasonable, then the limitations period is tolled until the plaintiff receives either " 'actual  

                                                                                                                                           



knowledge of' the facts giving rise to the cause of action" or "new information which  

                                                                                                                                            

would prompt a reasonable person to inquire further."23  

                                                                                                   



                       The superior court's decision, as well as the parties' briefing and argument  

                                                                                                                                       



on appeal, focus on Park's complaint to the Board of Nursing in 2007.  Spayd maintains  

                                                                                                                                       



that by this point in time Park was aware of all the elements of her causes of action:  that  

                                                                                                                                                 



she had been injured by Husseini's addiction to opiates and that Spayd's conduct was  

                                                                                                                                                



both  a  breach  of  the  professional  duty  of  care  and  the  cause  of  Park's  injuries.  

                                                                                                                                                         



Accordingly, Spayd argues that Park's causes of action accrued in 2007 and were barred  

                                                                                                                                            



by 2010.   Park counters by arguing, essentially, that her complaint to the Board -  

                                                                                                                                                  



resulting in the Board's decision not to take any action against Spayd - amounted to a  

                                                                                                                                                     



            19         (...continued)  



                             

(Alaska 1983).  



            20         Gefre, 306 P.3d at 1275 (quoting                         Mine Safety Appliances Co. v. Stiles                          , 756   



P.2d  288,  291  (Alaska   1988)).  



            21         See id.  

                               



            22         Id.  



            23         Id.  (quoting  Cameron,  822  P.2d  at   1367).  



                                                                         -9-                                                                  7594
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

reasonable yet unproductive inquiry that tolled the limitations period until Spayd's arrest                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



in 2019.  According to Park's affidavit, when the Board "told [her] there was no basis                                                                                                                                



for the complaint," she "believed that ended the matter."                                                                                                                                                      



                                                         The focus on what happened in 2007 is misplaced.                                                                                                                                                                               We assume without                                       



deciding  that   Park's   complaint   to   the   Board   of   Nursing   was   a   reasonable   yet  



unproductive inquiry that tolled the limitations period for her claims. Yet by Park's own                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



admission, in 2010 she received new information that would prompt a reasonable person                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



to inquire further.                         



                                                         In 2010 the superior court in the divorce case issued an order allowing Park                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



to access the records of the business she had run with Husseini during the marriage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In  



an affidavit filed in support of a motion in this negligence case, Park stated:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       "I did not                    



find Mr. Husseini's extensive drug receipts until I was given a court order to access our                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



business   property   after  remand,   and   realized   the   full   measure   of   [Spayd's]   gross  



negligence." At the time Park is referring to in this statement, she was already aware that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



 she had suffered injury as a result of Husseini's addiction (damages) and that Spayd's   



prescription of opioid medications had contributed to Husseini's addiction (causation).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



Park's subsequent admission - that she had become aware of Spayd's gross negligence                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



(duty and breach) - meant Park was on notice in 2010 of all the elements of her cause                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

of action against Spayd.                                                                               24  



                                                         Park argues that the cause of action did not accrue until 2018, the date of  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



Husseini's death, because that is when she suffered the final injury:  Husseini would  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



never be able to pay the judgment he owed in the divorce. In other words, Park contends  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



that it was not until Husseini's death that she learned the full extent of her injuries.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



                             24  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                         The elements of negligence and professional malpractice are duty, breach,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

causation, and damages.  Christianson, 318 P.3d at 398; Shooshanian, 672 P.2d at 464.  



                                                                                                                                                                                 -10-                                                                                                                                                                                           7594  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

                             But "under the discovery rule it is irrelevant if the full scope of injury is not                                                                           



                                                25  

known immediately."                                                                                                                                                          

                                                      In Sopko v. Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. we held that a plaintiff  



                                                                                                                                                                                          

who was aware that he suffered some injury had "sufficient information to prompt an  



                                                                                                                                                                                

inquiry into his cause of action" even though the full extent of his injury was not known  

                                    26    The same is true of Park.  Park was well aware of the injuries to her  

                                                                                                                                                                                        

until years later. 



marriage and finances prior to 2018.  Park's complaint alleged that she was "distraught  

                                                                                                                                                                       



over [Husseini's] drug dependence" in 2005; that "[a]s a direct and proximate result of  

                                                                                                                                                                                           



the emotional and physical addiction from which Husseini suffered, he and Park fought  

                                                                                                                                                                                 



over his addiction, ultimately ending the marriage"; that "[t]heir business was failing  

                                                                                                                                                                                 



because Husseini did not work"; and that "[t]hroughout the pendency of the divorce the  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



value of the marital estate diminished as the direct and proximate result of Husseini's  

                                                                                                                                                                        



drug dependence." Park and Husseini began divorce proceedings in 2007; their divorce  

                                                                                                                                                                               



was finalized in 2011.  Although Park did not know that Husseini would ultimately die  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



of a drug overdose and fail to pay Park her share of the marital estate, Park was well  

                                                                                                                                                                                      



aware, even before the divorce was finalized in 2011, that she had been injured by  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



Husseini's addiction.  

                                                 



                             By 2010 Park  was  also aware that Spayd had a role in that addiction  

                                                                                                                                                                          



through what Park describes as grossly negligent prescriptions.  Park was on notice of  

                                                                                                                                                                     



all the elements of her negligence and malpractice claims against Spayd. The limitations  

                                                                                                                                                                        



periods for these claims therefore began to run in 2010 and expired in 2012 and 2013  

                                                                                                                                                                                    



               25            Sopko v. Dowell Schlumberger, Inc.                                               , 21 P.3d 1265, 1272 (Alaska 2001).                                                



               26            Id.  at 1271-72 (rejecting worker's argument that cause of action did not                                                                                  



accrue until he was diagnosed with permanent injury five years after exposure to toxic                                                                                              

chemicals whenworkerexperiencedphysicalsymptomsimmediatelyfollowing exposure  

                                                                                                                                                                            

and was diagnosed with "toxic fume exposure" by physician days later).                                                                             



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respectively.   Because Park did not file suit against Spayd until 2019, her claims are                                                                                                            



time-barred.  



                B.	            Park's Equitable Defenses To The Statute Of Limitations Do Not Save                                                                                             

                               Her Claims.                     



                               Park argues that Spayd should be equitably estopped from raising a statute                                                                                



of limitations defense to Park's claims. To establish equitable estoppel, "a plaintiff must                                                                                                    



produce   evidence   of   fraudulent   conduct   upon   which   [she]   reasonably   relied   when  

forbearing  from  suit."27  

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                 "The  fraudulent  conduct  may  be  either  an  affirmative  



                                                                                                                                                                                        28  

                                                                                                                                                                                              Park  

misrepresentation[] or a failure to disclose facts [when] there is a duty to do so." 



                                                                                                             

asserts that Spayd must have made fraudulent representations to the Board of Nursing  



                                                                                                                                                                                          

in 2007, leading the Board to take no action on Park's complaint, which in turn caused  



                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Park not to file suit. Park further asserts that the superior court erred by faulting Park for  



                                                                                                                                                                                                     

not presenting evidence of Spayd's mispresentations even though the court declined to  



                                                                                                       

order Spayd to respond to Park's discovery requests.  



                                                                                                                                                                                               

                               The   focus   on   the   Board   of   Nursing's   investigation   -   and   any  



                                                                                                                                                                                                            

misrepresentations Spayd may have made during that process - is again misplaced.  



                                                                                                                                                                              

Park stated that she realized Spayd's negligence upon seeing Husseini's prescription  



                                                                                                                                                                                          

receipts in 2010. Even if it was reasonable for Park to view the Board's inaction against  



                                                                                                                                                                                                

Spayd as an indication that Spayd had not been negligent, it was not reasonable for Park  



                                                                                                                                                                                                  

to continue relying on the Board's inaction once she independently realized in 2010 that  



                                                                                                                                                                                 

Spayd had been grossly negligent.  Therefore Park cannot establish that she reasonably  



                27             Gudenau & Co. v. Sweeney Ins.                                             , 736 P.2d 763, 768 (Alaska 1987).                                 



                28              Waage v. Cutter Biological Div. of Miles Lab'ys, Inc.                                                                   , 926 P.2d 1145, 1149                  



                    

(Alaska 1996).  



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 relied on false statements Spayd may have made to the Board of Nursing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   29  Equitable  



  estoppel does not apply.                                                                                                



                                                                                             In her reply brief, Park raises for the first time the issue of equitable tolling,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 which the superior court ruled did not apply.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Because Park failed to address equitable                                                                                                                                                                                 



                                               29                                            For this reason, Park's assertion that the superior court erred by not giving                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



 her more time to conduct discovery and by not compelling discovery into Spayd's                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  communications with the Board of Nursing, even if true, does not affect the outcome of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  this case.                                                      Even if discovery showed that Spayd had lied to the Board, Park could not                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  show that she reasonably relied on those misrepresentations in light of her independent                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  discovery of Spayd's negligence.                                                                                                                                                                                                      



                                                                                            Nevertheless, we are troubled by the suggestion in the superior court's                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  order that Park was somehow responsible for not producing evidence in support of her                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  equitable estoppel argument.                                                                                                                                                                               Park sought and received a short extension to pursue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  discovery. After this extension of time had expired, Park told the superior court that she                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 had not received the discovery she needed and asked the court to compel it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The court   

  denied the request, stating that Park had not adequately explained                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the relevance of                                                                               

  discovery to the limitations issue. When Park explained at oral argument why discovery                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  into Spayd's communications with the Board could be relevant to the estoppel issue, the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  court disagreed, stating this evidence would not be relevant.  Yet the court's summary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

judgment order implicitly conceded the potential relevance of this discovery by faulting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  Park for "not provid[ing] this court with any facts suggesting the existence of fraudulent                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  conduct upon which she relied when refraining from filing suit."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



                                                                                            We emphasize that superior courts should hold "self-represented litigants                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

   .   .   .   to   a   less   demanding   procedural   standard,"   and   take   a   "lenient   approach"   in  

  construing their motions.                                                                                                                                                      Daggett v. Feeney                                                                                                                        , 397 P.3d 297, 304 n.19 (Alaska 2017)                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  (quoting   Mitchell   v.   Mitchell,   370   P.3d   1070,   1083   (Alaska   2016));   Regina  C.  v.  

 Michael C.                                                                  , 440 P.3d 199, 205 n.25 (Alaska 2019) (quoting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sengupta v. Univ. of Alaska                                                                                                                                                                 ,  

   139 P.3d 572, 581 (Alaska 2006)).                                                                                                                                                                                                             Although true that Park did not adequately explain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  the relevance of discovery in her initial motion to compel, she ultimately did explain its                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 relevance.   It was therefore problematic for the court to reject Park's estoppel argument                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  for lack of evidence after having denied her request to obtain evidence on this point. But                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  as we explained above, any error is harmless because of Park's independent discovery                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

  of Spayd's negligence in 2010.                                                                                                                                                                                        



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                                                                                                                     30  

tolling in her opening brief, the argument is waived.                                                                     Yet even if the issue had been                             



preserved, equitable tolling would not make Park's claims timely.                                                                                  



                              Equitable tolling applies "when a plaintiff has multiple legal remedies                                                                      



available to [her]. Courts will not force a plaintiff to simultaneously pursue two separate                                                                                  

                                                           31    Accordingly the limitations period for the second remedy  

and duplicative remedies."                                                                                                                                                     



is tolled while the plaintiff pursues the first remedy.  

                                                                                                                     



                             We have held that when litigation as to the first remedy terminates, a new  

                                                                                                                                                                                     

limitations period begins to run for the remaining remedy.32                                                                             Park filed her complaint  

                                                                                                                                                                         



with the Board of Nursing in 2007.  Although the record does not disclose precisely  

                                                                                                                                                                           



when the Board informed Park that it was closing its investigation, Park indicated that  

                                                                                    



the investigation was closed before her divorce was finalized in 2011.  Even assuming  

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                       33  a new three-year limitations period would have begun to run  

equitable tolling applied,                                                                                                                                                              

                                      



               30            See, e.g.          ,  Eberhart v. Alaska Pub. Offs. Comm'n                                                    , 426 P.3d 890, 894-95              



(Alaska 2018) (declining to consider issue raised for the first time in reply brief).                                                                                 



               31            Solomon v. Interior Reg'l Hous. Auth., 140 P.3d 882, 884 (Alaska 2006)  

                                                                                                                               

(quoting Gudenau & Co., 736 P.2d at 769).  

                                                                                     



               32            Id. at 885-86 (noting that "we have uniformly applied a new full statutory  

                                                                                                                                                                            

period in equitable tolling cases," although declining to decide "whether a plaintiff will  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

always have the full statutory limitations period in which to file once the circumstances  

                                                                                                                                                                

that justify equitable tolling abate").  

                                                               



               33            Id. at 884 ("[T]he statute of limitations is tolled only for those who initially  

                                                                                                                                                                              

pursuetheir rights in ajudicialorquasi-judicialgovernmental forum."(quoting Gudenau  

                                                                                                                                                                           

& Co., 736 P.2d at 768)).  

                                           



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once the Board's investigation closed, expiring well before Park filed suit in 2019.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      34  

Thereforeneither equitable estoppel nor equitabletolling saves                                                                                                                                                                                          Park's untimelyclaims.                                                                                  



V.                         CONCLUSION  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                      The judgment of the superior court is AFFIRMED.  



                           34                         Park's brief requests that we "[d]ismiss" the superior court's order on                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



attorney's fees.                                               Yet she did not appeal the superior court's award of attorney's fees and                                                                                                                                                                                                      

does not present any argument for why the award is erroneous.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Any challenge to the                                                        

award of attorney's fees is therefore waived.                                                                                                      



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