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Justices accept two cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in two cases, one examining medical malpractice liability evidence for damages and another examining how Marion County’s mass tort litigation rules impact the overall goal of orderly and speedy justice in an asbestos case.

At its private conference on Friday, the justices denied transfer in 29 appeals and accepted two cases – Stephen W. Robertson, Indiana Commissioner of Insurance as Administrator of the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, et al. v. B.O., a minor, by his parents and next friends, Lisa and Kevin C. Ort, No. 49S04-1111-CT-671; and Sharon Gill, on her own behalf and on behalf of the estate of Gale Gill, deceased v. Evansville Sheet Metal Works, Inc., No. 49S05-1111-CV-672.

In B.O., the Indiana Court of Appeals in May ruled on an issue of first impression about medical malpractice liability evidence being introduced to determine damages even after someone enters into a settlement with the healthcare provider on that underlying claim. A Marion Superior judge last year granted partial summary judgment for B.O. on grounds that the fund’s expert witness testimony couldn’t be introduced. But on interlocutory appeal, an appellate panel reversed that ruling based on language in the state’s Medical Malpractice Act and recent guidance from the Indiana Supreme Court in Atterholt v. Herbst, 907 N.E.2d 528 (Ind. 2009), which re-evaluated some precedent and held that the fund may introduce evidence of a claimant’s pre-existing risk of harm if it’s relevant to establishing the amount of damages.

The justices also accepted Gill, a case the Indiana Court of Appeals decided in December 2010. The appellate court found that a Marion County trial court shouldn’t have adhered to its local rule because it failed to achieve “the ultimate end of orderly and speedy justice,” when deciding that a woman’s claim against her deceased husband’s former employer was time-barred by a 10-year statute of limitations. Sharon Gill sued the contractor on claims that her husband had been exposed to asbestos on the job and that he died from a related disease. The appellate court noted its concern with the application of the Marion Circuit Court’s mass tort litigation rules and instructed the court not “blindly adhere” to all of the local rules without keeping the ultimate goal of orderly and speedy justice in mind.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

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  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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