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Justices dismiss malpractice complaint appeal

January 12, 2012

The Indiana Supreme Court has vacated transfer to a case involving a proposed medical malpractice claim, finding that the trial court order at issue is not a final appealable judgment.

In Keith M. Ramsey, M.D., The Methodist Hospitals, Inc. v. Shella Moore, No. 45S05-1105-CT-281, Shella Moore filed a medical malpractice complaint in 2006 regarding the death of Creshonda Clark and the stillbirth of her fetus. She did not timely file her case to the medical review panel as required by statute, so defendants Dr. Keith Ramsey and the hospital sought a preliminary determination and dismissal of Moore’s proposed complaint. The trial court dismissed the portion of Moore’s proposed complaint dealing with the death of the fetus, but refused to dismiss her complaint in its entirety based on the lateness of her submission.

Ramsey and the hospital argued that this action is appealable and was a final judgment by the trial court; Moore has claimed that the trial court decision wasn’t a final appealable judgment. A divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the order as to the hospital but reversed as to Ramsey. The justices, however, agreed with Moore that the trial court order isn’t appealable.

Justice Steven David, writing for the court, looked at the relevant portions of the state’s Medical Malpractice Act and whether the order falls under Indiana Appellate Rule 2(H) as a final judgment. Neither Appellate Rule 2(H)(1) nor 2(H)(2) apply in the instant case, the justices found. They dismissed the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

 

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