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Appeals court affirms order for expert witness to indemnify past employer

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An expert for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case who was ordered to execute a release indemnifying a former employer must do so, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Ann Rachelle Johnson filed a proposed complaint against two unnamed doctors and an unnamed medical provider in 2008. Disputes over discovery ensued, including the defense’s request of the practice and educational background of a plaintiff’s expert, Illinois Dr. Hansel DeBartolo Jr.

The court ordered DeBartolo to execute a release indemnifying a prior employer, Delnor Community Hospital, but DeBartolo declined to do so, and Johnson appealed the court’s order.

“We only very rarely issue advisory opinions, though we observe that on at least one occasion, this Court has issued an opinion reversing a trial court’s order on a pretrial matter where it appeared that the court’s interpretation of a prior order would clearly prejudice parties not immediately affected by the appealed-from order. See Travelers Indem. Co. v. P.R. Mallory & Co., 772 N.E.2d 479 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002),” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in a unanimous opinion in Ann Rachelle Johnson v. Dr. A., Dr. B., and Medical Provider.

“Here, however, Johnson has not yet been subject to any order that has actively prejudiced her case. We therefore cannot conclude that Johnson’s appeal is properly perfected. … Yet neither are we certain that the defendants’ decision to pursue the order and the trial court’s grant of the order are acceptable discovery practices under our trial rules,” Bailey wrote.

“It is not clear to us that the trial court could sanction Johnson for Dr. DeBartolo’s failure to comply with the Order without abusing its discretion. Nevertheless, because Johnson does not yet face actual prejudice from the trial court’s order, we dismiss her appeal.”

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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