Inmate loses negligence suit on appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the Adams County sheriff, finding an inmate was unable to make a prima facie case for negligence. The inmate sued after contracting a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – or MRSA – infection after visiting the hospital.

Adams County Jail inmate Christopher Halterman submitted medical requests concerning boils on his buttock. He went to Adams Memorial Hospital in 2009 for an outpatient surgery. A follow-up check by a nurse practitioner at the jail led to the discovery that Halterman had developed MRSA. This led to multiple surgeries, including a colostomy.

Halterman filed a lawsuit for negligence and included Adams County Sheriff Charles Padgett as a defendant. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which was granted.

At issue in Christopher Halterman v. Adams County Board of Commissioners, Adams County Sheriff, Charles Padgett, Adams County Sheriff's Dept. and Adams County Jail, 01A04-1211-CT-558, is the grant of summary judgment in favor of Padgett and the allowance of an affidavit of Dr. Bev House. The COA ruled that trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Halterman’s motion to strike the doctor’s affidavit. The doctor reviewed Halterman’s complaint, jail records, hospital records and depositions to make the decision that any different action by the jail would not have prevented the MRSA infection.

“Dr. House relied on the kinds of designated evidence we determined in Bunch (v. Tiwari, 711 N.E. 2d 844, 848 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)) was appropriate in the medical field, and therefore the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Halterman’s motion to strike Dr. House’s affidavit,” Judge Melissa May wrote.

The judges also agreed with the trial court that the defendants did not cause Halterman’s injuries.

“Halterman has not directed us to any designated evidence that would permit an inference that his injuries were caused by Sheriff Padgett,” May wrote. “In addition, he did not designate any evidence indicating earlier medical intervention or a different treatment strategy would have changed the outcome of his situation.”


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues