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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. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

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