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COA: More proceedings are needed on parents’ ITCA compliance

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Finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Richmond parents’ complied with the Indiana Tort Claims Act notice provision when filing a lawsuit after their severely disabled daughter died at school, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that issue to go before a jury.

Michael and Denita Lyons’ 17-year-old daughter Megan attended Richmond High School. She had Down syndrome and was severely mentally disabled, according to court records. She required around-the-clock care and someone to cut her food up. She choked on a sandwich while at school on Jan. 2, 2009, was deprived of oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes, and died two days later.

The Lyonses sued Richmond Community School Corporation under the ITCA and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging the school’s acts or omissions caused their daughter’s death. The trial court granted summary judgment to RCSC on the issues of compliance with ITCA’s notice provision and contributory negligence, as well as on the Section 1983 claims. The parents didn’t file their notice of tort claim until Jan. 11, 2010, and their lawsuit until June 8, 2010. They claim that they had no knowledge of the school’s negligence until a cafeteria worker contacted them in October 2009 and said “things were not done properly.”  

“The proper question, therefore, is: in the exercise of ordinary diligence, could the Lyonses have learned of RCSC’s alleged acts or omissions before July 15, 2009, which was 180 days before the Lyonses filed notice of their claims on January 11, 2010? This question is not resolved by the designated evidence, and therefore, it remains a genuine issue of material fact for the jury’s determination,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in Michael E. Lyons, Denita L. Lyons, individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Megan Renee Lyons, Deceased v. Richmond Community School Corp. d/b/a Richmond High School; Joe Spicer; et al., 89A04-1204-PL-159.

The judges found many of the Lyonses’ other claims on appeal failed, including that the trial court erred in quashing their third-party discovery requests against RCSC’s insurance company and in granting RCSC summary judgment on the issue of contributory negligence.

“I believe many of the things that raise a question of fact as to when the Lyonses should have discovered their cause of action also raise a question of fact as to whether RCSC was fraudulently concealing material facts concerning the Lyonses’ cause of action,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote in a separate opinion.

She also dissented from the majority’s decision affirming the grant of summary judgment on the Lyonses’ Section 1983 claims regarding the school corporation’s liability.   

 

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  1. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  2. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  3. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  4. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  5. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

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