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Appeals court reinstates proposed med mal complaint

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Finding that a Hendricks County court didn’t have jurisdiction to dismiss a man’s proposed complaint for damages under Trial Rule 41(E) or based on noncompliance under the Medical Malpractice Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday reinstated the proposed complaint.

John Mooney filed his proposed complaint for damages with the Indiana Department of Insurance in November 2007 alleging that a group of unnamed family care physicians and a group of cardiologists committed medical malpractice that caused Joseph Mooney’s 2005 injuries and death. Mooney’s attorney, Lance Cline, informed the attorney of the family care physicians, Marilyn Young, and the cardiologists’ attorney, Peter Pogue, that he believed discovery would take a while to complete due to his schedule and the amount of evidence he sought.

Several years went by without Cline completing the discovery, which included depositions from Young’s and Pogue’s clients. He sought extensions of the 180-day deadline, to which neither Young nor Pogue objected. In 2012, the family care physicians sought to dismiss the proposed complaint for failure to comply with Trial Rule 41(E) and the Medical Malpractice Act. In July 2012, Hendricks Superior Judge Stephenie LeMay-Luken granted the request, dismissing the complaint with prejudice.

In John H. Mooney, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Joseph S. Mooney, Deceased v. Anonymous M.D. 4, Anonymous M.D. 5, and Anonymous Hospital, 32A04-1208-CT-414, the Court of Appeals reversed after finding the trial court abused its discretion when it dismissed Mooney’s proposed complaint under I.C. 34-18-10-14. The trial court may grant relief under this section when a party, attorney or panelist has failed to act as required under the Medical Malpractice Act and good cause has been shown for the failure to act. But there was no submission schedule in place at the time of the physicians’ motion for a preliminary determination, Judge Edward Najam pointed out. When Cline objected to a proposed schedule set by the panel chairman, neither Young nor Pogue responded in any way. In addition, Young had previously agreed to extend the 180-day deadline if necessary.

Also, Cline didn’t sit idly by as Young alleged. He tried several times for more than a year to set up depositions with Pogue, who never responded, and Young also did not schedule times for depositions with her client.

The trial court also didn’t have jurisdiction to dismiss the proposed complaint under Trial Rule 41(E) because under the Medical Malpractice Act, only the commissioner of the Department of Insurance can file a motion to dismiss under this trial rule, Najam wrote.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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