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COA: Statute of repose doesn't bar woman's complaint

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In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a woman’s negligence complaint isn’t barred by a statute of repose.

In Cynthia Perdue v. Greater Lafayette Health Services d/b/a Home Hospital, No. 79A05-1011-CT-687, Cynthia Perdue tripped and fell on an inverted ramp in a parking garage owned and maintained by Home Hospital. There were no markings or warnings of the change in elevation. Perdue was injured in the fall.

She sued, claiming Home Hospital was negligent in not using ordinary care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe manner; that the company failed to actively inspect the premises to discover and fix unsafe defects; and it failed to warn of dangerous conditions created by the uneven floor in the parking garage. She claimed Home Hospital’s negligence proximately caused her injuries.

Home Hospital filed a motion for summary judgment alleging her claim was barred by Indiana Code 32-30-1-5, the statute of repose, because her injury arose out of an alleged deficiency in design or construction of the structure. That statute bars claims alleging deficiency in the design of an improvement of real property brought within the earlier of 10 years after substantial completion or 12 years after the completion and submission of plans to the owner if the action is for a deficiency in the design of the improvement. The statute also said deficiency did not mean a failure by a possessor to use reasonable care to maintain an improvement following the substantial completion of an improvement in real property.

The trial court ruled in favor of Home Hospital. Perdue argued that she doesn’t allege negligence due to an alleged deficiency in design or construction of the garage, but that her claims are based on the company’s failure to use reasonable care in maintaining its premises in a safe condition or one that protected her from harm.

This is an issue of first impression, so the judges relied on Ruddy v. Skelly, 231 P.3d 725 (Okla. Civ. App. 2009), an Oklahoma case similar to the instant one. In Ruddy, the court held that the statute of repose didn’t bar the plaintiff’s claim because it was based on common law negligence for failure to warn an invitee of a hidden danger, not liability based on design or construction defects.

The Indiana COA also cited several Indiana cases, including Burrell v. Meads, 569 N.E.2d 637, 642-43 (Ind. 1991), and Harris v. Traini, 759 N.E.2d 215, 225, (Ind. Ct. App. 2001), to reverse the lower court.

“Here, after the garage was completed and Home Hospital assumed full control of the premises, it had a duty, distinct from any duty it may have had with regard to the design and construction of the premises, either to repair dangerous conditions of the premises or to warn invitees of any danger,” wrote Judge Edward Najam.

Home Hospital hasn’t shown as a matter of law that no genuine issues of material fact exist, so it is not entitled to summary judgment. The appellate court remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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