Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate panel affirming the decision of the trial court to deny Appellant's request to amend her complaint alleging negligence against numerous healthcare providers to allege a violation of 42 U.S.C. 1395dd, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), holding that EMTALA's statute of limitations did not preempt an amendment.Appellant's grandson killed her husband after receiving treatment for his mental illness and dangerous propensities. Appellant sued her grandson's healthcare providers, alleging that their negligent care and treatment of her grandson led to her husband's death. Appellant subsequent moved to amend her complaint under Indiana Trial Rule 15(C) to allege a violation of EMTALA, which has a two-year statute of limitations. The trial court denied the request, and an appellate penal affirmed, concluding that the statute of limitations preempted an amendment under Rule 15(C). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that EMTALA's statute of limitations did not preempt an amendment under Trial Rule 15(C). View "Miller v. Patel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court accepted a question certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and answered that the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act applies when a plaintiff alleges that a qualified healthcare provider treated someone else negligently and that the negligent treatment injured the plaintiff.Plaintiff was the husband and father of two individuals killed in a car crash caused by Physician's patient. Plaintiff filed a civil action in federal court alleging that Physician's negligence in prescribing opiates to his patient caused the wrongful deaths of his wife and daughter. The state insurance commissioner, who administered the Patient's Compensation Fund, received permission to intervene. Plaintiff settled with Physician, who was dismissed. Plaintiff then sought excess damages from the Fund. The Fund responded that it had no liability because the underlying claim was not covered by the Act. The district court entered judgment for the Fund. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit certified to questions to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to answer question one and answered question two in the affirmative, holding that the Act applies where a plaintiff alleges that a qualified healthcare provider's negligent treatment of someone else caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury. View "Cutchin v. Beard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants - a lawyer and his law firm - in this lawyer malpractice case, holding that Defendants failed to negate the causation element of Plaintiff’s malpractice claim.Plaintiff fell and severely fractured her legs while visiting her husband in the hospital. Plaintiff retained Defendants to represent her against the hospital, but Defendants failed to sue the hospital within the applicable statute of limitations. At issue was whether Plaintiff would have won her claim against the hospital had Defendants timely sued, thus establishing the second prong of the “trial-within-a-trial” doctrine. On appeal, both parties conceded that Plaintiff did not know of the tripping risk that she claimed caused her fall. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants, holding that Defendants failed to establish, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff would not have succeeded in her premises-liability claim against the hospital, thus precluding summary judgment. View "Roumbos v. Samuel G. Vazanellis & Thiros and Stracci, PC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants - a lawyer and his law firm - in this lawyer malpractice case, holding that Defendants failed to negate the causation element of Plaintiff’s malpractice claim.Plaintiff fell and severely fractured her legs while visiting her husband in the hospital. Plaintiff retained Defendants to represent her against the hospital, but Defendants failed to sue the hospital within the applicable statute of limitations. At issue was whether Plaintiff would have won her claim against the hospital had Defendants timely sued, thus establishing the second prong of the “trial-within-a-trial” doctrine. On appeal, both parties conceded that Plaintiff did not know of the tripping risk that she claimed caused her fall. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for Defendants, holding that Defendants failed to establish, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff would not have succeeded in her premises-liability claim against the hospital, thus precluding summary judgment. View "Roumbos v. Samuel G. Vazanellis & Thiros and Stracci, PC" on Justia Law