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'Continuing wrong' statute makes malpractice claim timely

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A doctor who was the subject of a malpractice claim due to his patient losing consciousness and causing a crash while driving is not entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

In Mary Alice Manley and Gary Manley v. Ryan J. Sherer, M.D., and Sherer Family Medicine, No. 59A01-1104-PL-190, Gary and Mary Alice Manley sued Dr. Ryan Sherer following a crash on Nov. 27, 2006, that left Mary Alice Manley with permanent debilitating injuries. She was hit head-on by Sherer’s patient, Kimberly Zehr, who lost consciousness while driving due to a medical condition and the effects of medication prescribed by Sherer.

On Nov. 25, 2008, the Manleys filed a proposed complaint against Sherer with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Sherer filed with the trial court a motion for preliminary determination of law and for summary judgment. The trial court subsequently granted summary judgment to Sherer on all of the Manleys’ claims and directed the entry of judgment in favor of Sherer.

Sherer said the Manleys’ complaint was not timely; the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act sets forth a two-year statute of limitations for claims by victims of alleged medical malpractice. That two-year time frame would have begun on Nov. 21, 2006, when Sherer last treated Zehr. But the Manleys claim that their complaint is saved by the doctrine of continuing wrong.

The COA held that a dispute of fact exists as to whether Sherer’s failure to warn Zehr not to drive while she was under his care constitutes a continuing wrong. Under that doctrine, the statute of limitations would be tolled until at least Nov. 27, 2008, which would make the Manleys’ complaint timely.   

The appellate court also held that because Sherer did not warn Zehr to stop driving altogether, there is a dispute of fact on the element of breach of duty, and Sherer is not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on that element. The COA remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.

 

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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!

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  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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