ILNews

Justices agree amendment adding defendants was timely filed

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday granted transfer to a case and adopted the Court of Appeals opinion in the matter involving a wrongful death claim stemming from a mower accident.

Kris Schoolcraft, as personal representative of the estate of Rickie D. Schoolcraft, sued mower manufacturer Magic Circle Corp. after Rickie Schoolcraft died from injuries sustained in a mower accident. A day before the limitations period expired, she moved to amend the claim to add defendants who made parts for the mower. The motion was file-stamped that day; the trial court granted the motion to amend nearly two weeks later.

The new defendants claim the amended complaint fell outside the limitations period. The trial court denied their motion to dismiss, determining the limitation period was tolled the moment Schoolcraft filed her proposed amended complaint and the summonses.

The Court of Appeals declined to follow A.J.’s Auto Sales Inc. v. Free, 725 N.E.2d 955 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000) and instead followed a rule articulated in a Vermont case, The Children’s Store v. Cody Enters, Inc., 580 A.2d 1206-1209-11 (Vt. 1990). The appeals judges held that if they were to follow A.J.’s, then it would punish Schoolcraft for the court’s unavoidable delay in issuing an order granting leave to amend a complaint.

In a two-page per curiam decision in Camoplast Crocker, LLC, The Kelch Corporation, and Seats, Inc. v. Kris Schoolcraft, as Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of Rickie D. Schoolcraft, Deceased, et al., 29S02-1407-CT-476, the justices granted transfer to Schoolcraft and affirmed, expressly adopting the Court of Appeals opinion in this case.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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