ILNews

Couple’s trial strategy worked against them

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

A couple who consented to an entry of judgment on the evidence against them in a negligence claim in order to appeal the evidentiary rulings lost their case in the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Mary Barrix and her husband sued Kristopher Jackson and Graves Plumbing Co. Inc. for negligence after Barrix was involved in a car accident with Jackson while he was in the scope of his employment.

The Barrixes retained neurologist Dr. William Fulton to perform a medical evaluation of Barrix. He concluded Barrix suffered a 1 percent permanent partial impairment because of her ongoing pain. At a 2012 deposition of Fulton – who was unable to testify during trial – the defendants objected to the doctor’s testimony concerning the content of the medical records upon which he based his evaluation of Barrix’s condition. At trial, the defendants also objected to the admissibility of his deposition and the medical records and bills he relied upon.

After hearing oral argument and the Barrixes’ offer of proof, the trial court sustained the defendants’ objection, at which time the Barrixes rested their case and stated they would appeal the evidentiary ruling. The defendants moved for judgment on the evidence, which the court granted.

The appellate judges affirmed, finding the Barrixes couldn’t show reversible error as a result of the exclusion of Fulton’s deposition testimony from the evidence, and that any such error was invited. The Barrixes never directed the trial court to specific portions of the testimony that may have been admissible without the admission of prior doctors’ opinions and diagnoses, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote.

In addition, the court didn’t abuse its discretion when it excluded Barrix’s medical bills from evidence, and the plaintiffs failed to submit even the minimal amount of evidence required to avoid entry of judgment on the evidence in this case.  

“Rather than seek a continuance or an interlocutory appeal, the Barrixes, through counsel, effectively consented to entry of judgment on the evidence against them in order to appeal the trial court’s evidentiary rulings. Here, the strategy worked to their peril,” 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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT