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Split COA reverses trial court in personal injury case

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Two Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a trial court’s denial of a woman’s motion for prejudgment interest in a case stemming from a car crash.

In Margaret Kosarko v. William A. Padula, Administrator of the Estate of Daniel L. Herndobler, Deceased, No. 45A03-1012-CT-668, Margaret Kosarko and Daniel Herndobler were in an auto accident. Herndobler died while Kosarko’s case against him was still pending. Kosarko served William Padula – the administrator of Herndobler’s estate – with a settlement offer in 2008 in the amount of $100,000. Padula did not accept the offer.

The case was presented to a jury, which returned a verdict in favor of Kosarko in the amount of $210,000. Subsequently, Kosarko filed a motion for prejudgment interest. After a hearing, the trial court denied Kosarko’s motion, concluding that her damages, as determined by the jury in this case, were not ascertainable within a time frame that justified granting her motion for prejudgment interest.

The COA held that prejudgment interest is allowable when the damages are capable of being determined by reference to some known standard, such as fair market value. The appellate court found no indication that Kosarko’s increased medical expenses were unnecessary, fraudulent or unrelated to the automobile accident, nor did it find evidence that Kosarko unduly delayed the surgery that caused the largest increase in her medical costs. It therefore reversed, holding Kosarko is entitled to $79,627.40 in prejudgment interest.

Judge Melissa May dissented, holding that the majority concluded that “Padula had ample opportunity to evaluate the known dollar cost of the dispute and consider settlement” in the year that elapsed between March 2009, when Padula learned of Kosarko’s back surgery, and the March 2010 trial. But May wrote that the majority did not explain how that conclusion is relevant to whether Kosarko’s damages were ascertainable during the 30 days in 2008 when Kosarko’s Qualified Settlement Offer was valid. May wrote that she would affirm the trial court’s denial of Kosarko’s motion.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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