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$1.25 million med mal verdict affirmed

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a $1.25 million jury verdict and in doing so ruled on three issues of first impression that will likely impact future medical malpractice suits.

In Michael A. Linton, M.D. v. Lawanda Davis, No. 45A05-0610-CV-567, the court's unanimous decision today involves Lawanda Davis' labor and delivery in August 2000, where she lost her newborn son at a Gary hospital four hours after the birth. The Indiana Medical Review Panel concluded that Dr. Michael A. Linton had deviated from the standard of care and the Indiana Medical Licensing Board investigated his conduct before the trial began in 2006 and a jury ultimately ruled for Davis.

On appeal, Linton argued the trial court shouldn't have admitted his testimony about the proceedings and rulings of the medical licensing board; that it should have allowed into evidence the review panel's determination not to forward his name to the licensing board for more investigation; and a nurse should have been allowed to testify as a witness about her perceptions of the baby's well-being during labor and delivery.

Through the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, claims must go before a medical review panel before a lawsuit can proceed; the panel's conclusion isn't decisive and by statute is admissible in a civil trial. If the panel makes a written determination as to whether a physician's name should be forwarded to the licensing board, their decision is not admissible.

In this case, the licensing board placed him on probation indefinitely and that came up during trial. Judges affirmed the lower court, holding that a physician's licensure status can be used to impeach that person's testimony, but that a medical licensing board's specific findings aren't admissible in judicial proceedings.

Linton argued on one point that Indiana Code Section 34-18-9-4 states a medical review panel's determination of "forwarding" is inadmissible, but a determination "not to forward" is allowed.

"The phrase 'determination concerning the forwarding' cannot be wrestled from the context it is used," the court wrote. "As the 'determination' refers back to the Panel's decision as to 'whether to forward,' it not only includes forwarding but must also encompass the decision not to forward."

While the court found that the trial court improperly excluded the nurse's testimony, that error was harmless and didn't affect the outcome.

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  2. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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