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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. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

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  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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