COA: personal injury action should be allowed to proceed

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The Indiana Court of Appeals examined how the 120-day time limit under Indiana Trial Rule 15(C) on amending a complaint to substitute a party interacts with the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, and held that the 120-day time limit can’t be allowed to operate prematurely to bar a claim when the statute of limitations is still running.

In Samuel D. Raisor, et al. v. Edward O. Carter, et al., No. 49A05-1010-CT-629, the issue was whether Samuel and Christy Raisor should have been allowed to amend their original personal injury complaint to include the correct owner of the bar where Samuel was allegedly assaulted by an underage patron. The Raisors brought the personal injury claim within the two-year statute of limitations, but made the amendment to include the correct bar owner – Jimmie’s Raceway Pub Inc. – after the 120-day time limit under T.R. 15(C). The Raisors didn’t learn who the correct owner was until 23 months after the alleged assault due to incorrect addresses and information listed for the pub owner.  

The trial court granted Jimmie’s motion to dismiss, finding the amended complaint was barred because the statute of limitations had expired by the time the amended complaint was filed and the 120-day period for amended complaints to add a new party had expired.

The appellate court reversed, finding that even though the 120-day period to amend the complaint had passed by the time the correct pub owner learned of the suit, the two-year limitation period for the personal injury action hadn’t expired. Because Jimmie’s gained actual knowledge of the lawsuit three weeks before the statute of limitations expired, the owner's defenses weren’t prejudiced, wrote Judge Terry Crone. The judge also pointed out Jimmie’s owner actually discovered the mistake before the Raisors because a mail carrier had delivered a piece of mail addressed to him to the correct address instead of the one listed on the envelope.

Judge Crone noted that T.R. 15(C) gives a party an additional 120 days to give notice of the action, so if someone filed their complaint on the last day under the statute of limitations, they would have 120 days after the expiration date to substitute a proper party defendant.

“The fact that the Raisors filed their original complaint earlier should not work to penalize them. We do not believe that the amended trial rule was designed to shorten the period of time that plaintiffs have to file their claims,” he wrote. “Simply put, where the statute of limitations is still running, the 120-day limit found in Trial Rule 15(C) cannot be permitted to operate prematurely to bar the claim.”

The Court of Appeals also found the trial court erred by denying the Raisors’ T.R. 6(B) motion to extend the T.R.15(C) notice period, but based on their ruling on the statute of limitations issue, the equitable remedy under T.R. 6(B) isn’t necessary, wrote Judge Crone. The judges remanded for further proceedings.


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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon