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Justices grant transfer in 2 wrongful death cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court will consider whether attorney fees awarded as damages in wrongful death cases from the Indiana Patients Compensation Fund are subject to a 15 percent cap of the total reward. It’s one of two appeals justices accepted last week, both involving wrongful death cases.

Justices will take up the question by granting transfer in a divided Court of Appeals opinion that awarded fees exceeding 15 percent in Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Judy Holcomb, Personal Representative of the Estate of Mable Louis Cochran, Deceased, 49A05-1207-CC-340.

The COA majority held that the statutory cap does not apply to the calculation of excess damages of any type from the fund.

Separately, the court also agreed to hear a case in which the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court erred in granting a new trial because the defendant doctor’s counsel failed to disclose the identity and opinions of two expert witnesses before a disclosure deadline.

A jury returned a verdict for the doctor, but the trial court granted a new trial after plaintiffs objected to one expert’s testimony as a pathologist, arguing he only should have been allowed to testify as a pulmonologist. The COA ruled the trial court abused its discretion in Don H. Dumont, M.D. v. Penny Davis and Nicole Anderson as Co-Administratrixes of the Estate of Charmitta Jordan, deceased, 45A05-1207-CT-384.

Those cases are the lone matters to which justices granted transfer for the week ending April 4. Transfer was denied in 20 cases. Transfer dispositions may be viewed here.

 

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