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Justices agree amendment adding defendants was timely filed

July 21, 2014

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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