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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. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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