ILNews

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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  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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