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2011 update of DTCI amicus cases

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This will be my final annual update of Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana’s participation in amicus cases. I have decided after over 10 years heading up the Amicus Committee, it is time for me to step aside. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, Don Kite will assume the chair. I will stay on the committee for another year to help Don with the transition.

In 2011, DTCI has participated as amicus in several significant legal issues affecting the defense bar. It was involved in a certified question concerning the crash worthiness doctrine and prepared a brief concerning whether failure to maintain medical records constitutes spoliation. Finally, the Amicus Committee was involved in one of the cases deciding whether plaintiffs in wrongful death cases were entitled to attorney fees. The Amicus Committee also welcomed a new member, Edward Harney of Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons.

james johnson Johnson

Below are the 2011 cases:

Cases decided at the Indiana Supreme Court

Nicholas Green v. Ford Motor Co., 942 N.E.2d 791 (Ind. 2011), Certified Question from S.D. Ind. The court decided that in a crash worthiness case alleging enhanced injuries under the Indiana Product Liability Act, the jury can apportion fault to the person suffering physical harm when the alleged fault relates to the cause of the underlying accident. Ross Rudolph of Rudolph Fine Porter & Johnson and James Godbold of Kightlinger & Gray’s Evansville office prepared the amicus brief.

Ashby and O’Brien v. Davidson, 949 N.E.2d 301 (Ind. 2011). The court held a claims-made policy of insurance requires notice by an insured prior to the expiration of the policy period. However, the court held there was a material issue of fact on plaintiff’s estoppel claim (DTCI did not participate in the estoppel claim). Don Kite of Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan wrote the amicus brief.

Howard Regional Health Systems v. Gordon, 952 N.E.2d 182 (Ind. 2011). The court held there is no spoliation cause of action for failing to comply with a statute concerning maintenance of health care records against a health care provider who fails to maintain medical records. The amicus brief was written by Tom Bodkin of Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn.

Hematology-Oncology of Indiana, P.C. v. Fruits, 950 N.E.2d 295 (Ind. 2011). The court held plaintiffs are entitled to an award of attorney fees and expenses pursuant to the Adult Wrongful Death Act. Robert Parker prepared the DTCI amicus brief.

Cases pending at Indiana Court of Appeals

Santelli v. Rahmatullah and Super 8 Motel, No. 49D04-0704-CT-14720. The issue is whether in a premises liability case where a person was murdered, the premises owner can name the criminal assailant as a nonparty. Lucy Dollens of Frost Brown Todd wrote the amicus brief.

I would like to thank all the individuals and firms that supplied briefs in the above matters. This work is time consuming and challenging. The work of the brief writers is appreciated by everyone at DTCI.

As usual, I speak for the DTCI board in expressing my thanks to the members of Amicus Committee: Michele Bryant (Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn); Lucy Dollens; Michael Dugan (Dugan & Voland); Daniel Glavin (O’Neill McFadden & Willett); Phil Kalamaros (Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros); Don Kite Sr.; Crystal Rowe (Kightlinger & Gray) and Edward Harney. I speak for the entire committee when I thank the DTCI board of directors and its members for their continued support of the Amicus Committee.

Finally, on a personal note, my time as Amicus chair has been one of the most professionally fulfilling experiences in my career. The combination of the intellectual debates on the committee, the policy discussions with the board and the work with the brief writers will never be duplicated. I hope Don has as great an experience as I have had over the last 10 years.•

__________

James D. Johnson is a partner in the litigation department at Rudolph Fine Porter & Johnson in Evansville. Johnson will be vice president of DTCI beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
 

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  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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