ILNews

Court clarifies responses under T.R. 56(I)

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The Indiana Court of Appeals used a decision today to clarify that when a nonmoving party has received an enlargement of time pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 56(I), any response must be made within the additional time period granted by the trial court.

The issue arose in Marvin Jay Miller, M.D. v. Tiffany Brook Yedlowski, deceased, Mario Yedlowski and Kim Rinehart, No. 49A02-0901-CV-78, in which Dr. Marvin Jay Miller appealed of the denial of his motion for summary judgment. Tiffany Yedlowski's parents, Mario Yedlowski and Kim Rinehart, filed a complaint against Miller following the death of Tiffany while under his care at Larue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis.

Miller filed a motion for summary judgment; the parents filed a motion for enlargement of time to respond to his motion. They were granted a Sept. 4, 2008 deadline to respond to the motion.

Six days after the deadline, the parents filed a second motion for enlargement of time, requesting five more days to get their expert's report. Miller again filed for summary judgment, arguing he was entitled to it as a matter of law since the plaintiffs' hadn't responded or filed a continuance within the time limit set by the trial court.

The trial court denied Miller's motion, granted the parents' second motion for enlargement of time, and then allowed the parents to file their response more than ten days after their Sept. 4 deadline.

On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals determined the trial court erred in granting the second motion for enlargement of time because it wasn't filed by the deadline imposed by the court. The Indiana Supreme Court, in HomEq Servicing Corp. v. Baker, 883 N.E.2d 95, 98 (Ind. 2008), established a bright-line rule that prohibits a trial court from considering summary judgment filings after the 30-day period, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

Even though the plaintiffs filed their first motion within the 30-day period, their second one wasn't within the time period defined by the first motion for enlargement of time, so their response shouldn't have been allowed, per Thayer v. Gohil, 740 N.E.2d 1266, 1269 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001).

"The rationale behind the rule requiring a nonmoving party to respond to a motion for summary judgment ... within thirty days does not vanish because the trial court has happened to grant one extension of time," wrote the judge. "That is, the nonmoving party should not be rewarded and relieved from the restriction of responding within the time limit set by the court because he or she has had the good fortune of one enlargement of time."

Because the parents' response was filed late, it can't be considered by the trial court and leaves no evidence to oppose Miller's motion for summary judgment. The appellate court remanded for entry of summary judgment in favor of the doctor.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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