ILNews

Family did have notice that expert pulmonologist was going to testify as pathologist

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In reviewing a dispute over testimony given by expert witnesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals sees no reason to hold a new trial.  

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment in Don H. Dumont, M.D. v. Penny Davis and Nicole Anderson as Co-Administratrixes of the Estate of Charmitta Jordan, deceased, 45A05-1207-CT-384. The appeals court found the lower court erred by granting the plaintiffs a new trial.   

Following the death of Charmitta Jordan, her family filed a wrongful death action against Don Dumont, M.D. When the jury returned a verdict for Dumont, the family requested a new trial alleging Dumont’s counsel failed to disclose the identification and opinions of two expert witnesses prior to the disclosure deadline.

In particular, the family contended that Michael Ehrie, M.D., who testified as an expert witness for Dumont, should not have been questioned as a pathologist but only as a pulmonologist.

Dumont argued the family and the court was given advanced notice that his intention was to question Ehrie as a pathologist. Namely, Dumont said he would be asking Ehrie histological opinions and did give the court Ehrie’s curriculum vitae which notes he is a pathologist.

After the family objected to Ehrie’s testimony during the trial, the lower court stopped the questioning of him as a pathologist and struck his testimony, instructing the jury not to consider his opinions as a pathologist.

The court of appeals found the trial court abused its discretion when it excluded Ehrie’s entire testimony as a pathologist.

The COA conceded that although the intention to examine Ehrie was disclosed well beyond the pre-trial order’s deadline, the notice was still made six months before the trial date, giving the family more than enough time to depose the doctor.

Also, the appeals court pointed out that during the pre-trial hearing, the family indicated they suspected Ehrie would be examined outside of his previously disclosed expertise in pulmonology but, still, they did not change their preparations for trial.   

In addition, even if Dumont committed misconduct, that error was corrected when the family objected leading the trial court to exclude the testimony and admonish the jury to disregard Ehrie’s statements.

 
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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