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DTCI amicus makes impact in 2010

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james johnson Johnson

Although 2010 did not have the fireworks of the 2009 medical write-off cases, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana has participated as amicus in several significant legal issues affecting the defense bar. It is involved in a certified question concerning the crash worthiness doctrine, and prepared a brief concerning whether failure to maintain medical records constitutes spoliation. Finally, the Amicus Committee is involved in two cases deciding whether plaintiffs in wrongful death cases are entitled to attorney fees. The Amicus Committee also welcomed a new member, Crystal Rowe of Kightlinger & Gray’s New Albany office.

Below are the 2010 cases.

Cases Decided at the Indiana Supreme Court:

Smith v. Champion Trucking Co., Inc., 925 N.E.2d 362 (Ind. 2010). This is a workers’ compensation case concerning I.C. § 22-3-2-13 and the termination of worker’s compensation liability of an employer and its insurer upon settlement of a third-party lawsuit obtained without consent of the employer. The court held that pursuant to the Worker’s Compensation Act, an employer’s worker’s compensation liability of an employee’s benefits terminate if the employee settles a claim against the third party for the same injury without first obtaining the employer’s consent. Rori Goldman and Ty Craver of Hill Fulwider McDowell Funk & Matthews wrote the amicus brief.

Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund v. Patrick, 929 N.E.2d 190 (Ind. 2010). The court held that a father did not have a derivative claim under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act for the death of his son for emotional distress. Peter Pogue and Katherine Karres of Schultz and Pogue wrote the amicus brief.

Cases Decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals

Clarion Health Partners, Inc. v. Wagler, 925 N.E.2d 388 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). The Court of Appeals found that there was no material issue of fact and reversed the trial court. It also found a nurse could not provide expert testimony on a physician’s standard of care. Peter Pogue and Katherine Karres of Schultz and Pogue wrote the amicus brief for DTCI.

Cases Pending at the Indiana Supreme Court

Nicholas Green v. Ford Motor Co., Certified Question from S.D. Ind. The issue is whether in a crash worthiness case alleging enhanced injuries under the Indiana Product Liability Act, the jury shall apportion fault to the person suffering physical harm when the alleged fault relates to the cause of the underlying accident. Ross Rudolph and James Godbold of Rudolph Fine Porter & Johnson prepared the amicus brief. Oral argument was held on Dec. 9, 2010.

Ashby and O’Brien v. Davidson, 930 N.E.2d 53 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). The issue is whether a claims made policy of insurance requires notice by an insured prior to the expiration of the policy period. Don Kite of Dean-Webster Wright & Kite wrote the amicus brief. The court accepted transfer on Nov. 10, 2010.

Indiana Patients Compensation Fund v. Brown, 934 N.E.2d 168 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). This case concerns whether the Indiana Adult Wrongful Death statute § 34-23-1-2 allows the recovery of attorney fees as damages. Robert Parker wrote the amicus brief.

Howard Regional Health Systems v. Gordon, 925 N.E.2d 453 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). The issue is whether there is a spoliation cause of action for failing to comply with I.C. 16-39-7-1 against a healthcare provider who fails to maintain medical records. The amicus brief was written by Tom Bodkin of Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn. The court granted transfer and conducted oral argument on Oct. 28, 2010.

Hematology-Oncology of Indiana, P.C. v. Fruits, 932 N.E.2d 698 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). This case has been consolidated for oral argument purposes only with McCabe v. Comm’r, Ind. Dept. of Ins., 930 N.E.2d 1202 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). The court denied consolidation with the Brown case listed above. The issue is whether plaintiffs are entitled to an award of attorney fees and expenses pursuant to the Adult Wrongful Death Act. Robert Parker prepared the DTCI amicus brief.

I would like to thank all the individuals and firms that supplied briefs in the above matters. This work is time consuming and challenging. The work of the brief writers is appreciated by everyone at DTCI.

Should anyone seek DTCI Amicus Committee’s involvement as a brief writer, do not hesitate to contact me. As usual, I speak for DTCI in expressing my thanks to the members of Amicus Committee: Michele Bryant (Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn); Lucy Dollens (Frost Brown Todd); Michael Dugan (Dugan Voland & Meagher); Kelly Eskew (Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer); Daniel Glaven (Beckman Kelly & Smith); Phil Kalamaros (Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros); Don Kite, Sr. (Dean-Webster Wright & Kite), and Crystal Rowe of (Kightlinger & Gray). Finally, I speak for the entire committee when I thank the DTCI Board of Directors and its members for their continued support of the Amicus Committee.•

__________

James D. Johnson is a partner in the Evansville firm of Rudolph Fine Porter & Johnson and chairs the DTCI Amicus Committee. He serves on the DTCI Board of Directors and has been elected the 2011 secretary of the association. He can be reached at jdj@rfpj.com. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.
 

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  1. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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