Danielle Helms v. Max H. Rudicel, M.D., et al - 2/18/13

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Monday  February 18, 2013 
4:00 PM  EST

4 p.m. 18A04-1202-CT-70. Indiana Supreme Court courtroom. Danielle Helms sued her doctor, a nurse practitioner, an emergency physicians group, a clinic, and a hospital for malpractice related to treatment she received during her pregnancy.  A federal court found the doctor and clinic were federal employees and the federal tort claims limitation period had run.  The trial court determined that decision was res judicata as to Helms’s negligence claims related to the clinic or the doctor’s work there.  It also found the hospital was not vicariously liable for acts by the clinic or its employees, or for acts the doctor performed at the clinic.  It found the hospital might be vicariously liable for acts of the doctor and the nurse practitioner at the hospital, and it dismissed the clinic with prejudice.
Helms appeals, arguing the federal decision is not res judicata because that court did not address the issues before us, and the medical providers at the clinic were apparent agents of the hospital.  On cross appeal, the hospital argues it could not have vicarious liability because it told Helms its healthcare providers are independent contractors. 

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  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.

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