ILNews

Judges: 2-year statute of limitations doesn't apply

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a medical group’s application for adjustment of claim for provider fee, finding the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board erred by ruling the application was filed outside the statute of limitations.

The appellate court addressed this issue in three separate rulings today, including Indiana Spine Group PC v. Pilot Travel Centers LLC, No. 93A02-1003-EX-315. Indiana Spine Group had provided medical treatment in July and October 2004 to an employee of Pilot Travel Centers for work-related injury. Pilot paid only a portion of the balance of this treatment, with the last payment coming in June 2008.

In June 2009, ISG filed an application for the balance owed; Pilot sought a dismissal because it believed the application was filed outside the two-year statute of limitations of the date in which compensation was last paid to the employee specified in Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-27. The full board affirmed the dismissal by the single hearing member for lack of jurisdiction based on the two-year statute of limitations.

The statute in question establishes a two-year limit for the “modification” of an award due to a “change in conditions,” which begins to run on the last day for which compensation was paid to the injured employee. The Pilot employee was last compensated in August 2006.

But this statute of limitation doesn’t apply because there were no changed conditions requiring a modification of the worker’s compensation benefits to the employee, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander. The Worker’s Compensation Act is silent on the statute of limitations applicable to claims involving the pecuniary liability of employers to medical service providers.

The appellate court declined to apply the statute of limitations in I.C. Section 22-3-3-27 because it could lead to absurd results, such as leaving medical service providers little incentive to treat injured workers under the act once an employee’s permanent partial impairment was established.

“While a medical service provider is able to determine the date of an injured employee’s accident, the provider does not generally have ready access to the dates of compensation to the employee, which vary widely from case to case,” wrote the judge. “Rather, a statute of limitations for claims like that asserted by ISG would seem to be more appropriately related to the date of service. We leave that decision, however, as well as the appropriate length of the limitations period, for the Legislature.”

The Court of Appeals reversed the decision and remanded so that ISG can have a determination on the merits of its application. The appellate court reached the same conclusion in the not-for-publication opinions Indiana Spine Group v. All Seasons Holdings, No. 93A02-1003-EX-316, and Indiana Spine Group v. Scenic Hills Care Center, No. 93A02-1003-EX-313.



 

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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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