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Inmate loses negligence suit on appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the Adams County sheriff, finding an inmate was unable to make a prima facie case for negligence. The inmate sued after contracting a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – or MRSA – infection after visiting the hospital.

Adams County Jail inmate Christopher Halterman submitted medical requests concerning boils on his buttock. He went to Adams Memorial Hospital in 2009 for an outpatient surgery. A follow-up check by a nurse practitioner at the jail led to the discovery that Halterman had developed MRSA. This led to multiple surgeries, including a colostomy.

Halterman filed a lawsuit for negligence and included Adams County Sheriff Charles Padgett as a defendant. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which was granted.

At issue in Christopher Halterman v. Adams County Board of Commissioners, Adams County Sheriff, Charles Padgett, Adams County Sheriff's Dept. and Adams County Jail, 01A04-1211-CT-558, is the grant of summary judgment in favor of Padgett and the allowance of an affidavit of Dr. Bev House. The COA ruled that trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Halterman’s motion to strike the doctor’s affidavit. The doctor reviewed Halterman’s complaint, jail records, hospital records and depositions to make the decision that any different action by the jail would not have prevented the MRSA infection.

“Dr. House relied on the kinds of designated evidence we determined in Bunch (v. Tiwari, 711 N.E. 2d 844, 848 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)) was appropriate in the medical field, and therefore the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Halterman’s motion to strike Dr. House’s affidavit,” Judge Melissa May wrote.

The judges also agreed with the trial court that the defendants did not cause Halterman’s injuries.

“Halterman has not directed us to any designated evidence that would permit an inference that his injuries were caused by Sheriff Padgett,” May wrote. “In addition, he did not designate any evidence indicating earlier medical intervention or a different treatment strategy would have changed the outcome of his situation.”

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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