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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. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  2. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  3. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  4. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  5. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

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