ILNews

COA split on which statute of limitation applies

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals split today in its decision as to whether Indiana's two-year statute of limitations for personal injury torts or the three-year statute of limitations under the Federal Employers' Liability Act applied in a man's FELA claim in state court.
 
The majority ruled the three-year statute of limitations under the FELA applied in the instant case.

In Steven A. Januchowski v. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, No. 64A03-0806-CV-330, the appellate court had to decide which statute of limitation applies in suits in Indiana against political subdivisions such as the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, where issues of sovereign immunity come into play. It's already been settled the FELA statute of limitations applies over state statute in suits against private entities.
 
Steven Januchowski worked for NICTD and was injured on the job. His complaint in state court was filed a little over two years after he was injured.
 
The trial court ruled Indiana's general two-year statute of limitations for torts applied rather than the FELA statute of limitations because suits against governmental entities must be brought in compliance with the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of NICTD.

The ITCA doesn't explicitly state which statute of limitation applies in this case, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik, although another part of Indiana Code refers to the general statute of limitation for torts, which is two years. The majority found the omission of the statute of limitations to be significant, given the legislature has inserted specific statute of limitations into other acts. Because it doesn't expressly contain a statute of limitation, the majority disagreed with NICTD's argument the two-year statute of limitations applies to all tort claims against the state no matter what the claim.

"Because we are to treat governmental entities like private entities unless the ITCA commands otherwise and the ITCA does not do so here, we will apply FELA to NICTD as if it were a private entity," wrote the judge. "As discussed above, FELA's three-year statute of limitation is regarded as a substantive right. Having complied with the three-year statute of limitation, Januchowski's suit may proceed."

In his dissent, Judge Carr Darden wrote because Januchowski chose to proceed with his FELA claim in state court instead of federal court, he should have complied with the Indiana procedural statute providing for a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. Even though the ITCA contains no express statute of limitation provision, that ignores Indiana Code Section 34-11-2-4, which gives two years for personal injury claims. The majority also ignored the long-standing principle that statutes addressing the same subject are in pari materia and to be read in harmony if possible, he wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
2015 Distinguished Barrister &
Up and Coming Lawyer Reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 • 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Learn More


ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. by the time anybody gets to such files they will probably have been totally vacuumed anyways. they're pros at this at universities. anything to protect their incomes. Still, a laudable attempt. Let's go for throat though: how about the idea of unionizing football college football players so they can get a fair shake for their work? then if one of the players is a pain in the neck cut them loose instead of protecting them. if that kills the big programs, great, what do they have to do with learning anyways? nada. just another way for universities to rake in the billions even as they skate from paying taxes with their bogus "nonprofit" status.

  2. Um the affidavit from the lawyer is admissible, competent evidence of reasonableness itself. And anybody who had done law work in small claims court would not have blinked at that modest fee. Where do judges come up with this stuff? Somebody is showing a lack of experience and it wasn't the lawyers

  3. My children were taken away a year ago due to drugs, and u struggled to get things on track, and now that I have been passing drug screens for almost 6 months now and not missing visits they have already filed to take my rights away. I need help.....I can't loose my babies. Plz feel free to call if u can help. Sarah at 765-865-7589

  4. Females now rule over every appellate court in Indiana, and from the federal southern district, as well as at the head of many judicial agencies. Give me a break, ladies! Can we men organize guy-only clubs to tell our sob stories about being too sexy for our shirts and not being picked for appellate court openings? Nope, that would be sexist! Ah modernity, such a ball of confusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmRsWdK0PRI

  5. LOL thanks Jennifer, thanks to me for reading, but not reading closely enough! I thought about it after posting and realized such is just what was reported. My bad. NOW ... how about reporting who the attorneys were raking in the Purdue alum dollars?

ADVERTISEMENT