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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. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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