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Inmate’s negligence suit may continue, court rules

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on a negligence lawsuit filed by an Indiana Department of Correction inmate after he fell and injured himself. In the decision, the judges also decided that prison operators are subject to liability in much the same manner as other private actors.

Inmate John Kader has difficulty lifting his right foot off the ground while walking. In September 2007, he fell while walking through the New Castle Correctional Facility and hit his head. He claimed his foot caught on an uneven floor grate. He was transferred to the hospital for treatment. The hospital recommended follow-up treatment for his head injury, which neither the Department of Correction nor The GEO Group, a private corporation which operated the prison, took action on.

Kader sued the state, DOC and GEO alleging negligent supervision, negligent installation of the floor grate and negligence in providing medical care after returning from the hospital. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of GEO.

In John Kader v. State of Indiana, Department of Correction, and The Geo Group, Inc., 33A01-1302-CT-72, the Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for GEO on Kader’s duty of care regarding his medical treatment after leaving the hospital, finding the state and DOC have the ultimate authority over his medical treatment.

But the judges reversed summary judgment on several other matters. They found the trial court abused its discretion in striking the entirety of LaDarryl Holland’s affidavit, which Kader designated as evidentiary material in response for the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants. Holland was the inmate clerk in charge of cleaning the hallway where the floor grate in question was located and saw Kader fall.

The trial court also found Kader’s walking without a cane or wheelchair amounted to contributory negligence, but the COA held prison operator GEO, as a private business, is not entitled to relief from liability under a contributory negligence defense. Prison operators do not merely stand in the shoes of a government body for purposes of liability at tort.

The appellate judges found the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of testimony and factual determination that Kader’s conduct was contributorily negligent because he did not use a cane or wheelchair were both in error. His claims against GEP should be treated within the scope of comparative, not contributory, negligence, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote.
 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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