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Journey’s Account Statute applies to proposed medical malpractice complaint

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday affirmed that the Journey’s Account Statute applies to revive a proposed medical malpractice complaint filed on behalf of a woman’s granddaughter as her guardian.

Carrie Etta McGoffney resided at Royal Oaks Health Care and Rehabilitation Center for 10 months. After her stay, McGoffney’s daughter, Kelly, filed a proposed medical malpractice complaint on behalf of her mother, even though Kelly’s sister, Ivy, was McGoffney’s sole guardian and attorney-in-fact.

The complaint was dismissed in late December 2011, but when Keeli Mayes, Carrie McGoffney’s granddaughter, was appointed as guardian, she filed what she called an amended proposed medical malpractice complaint. Royal Oaks sought summary judgment, saying the filing was untimely. The trial denied summary judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed in Kindred Nursing Centers, d/b/a Royal Oaks Health Care and Rehabilitation Center v. The Estate of Carrie Etta McGoffney, 84A04-1402-MI-56.

“We conclude that the circumstances of this case warrant application of the JAS and support the trial court’s judgment. We see no indication in the record that Kelly was anything but diligent in her prosecution of the proposed complaint or acted in bad faith. After timely filing the first proposed medical malpractice complaint on Carrie’s behalf, Kelly secured a nunc pro tunc order from the Probate Court providing that she had the legal authority to do just that,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote. “In essence, the Probate Court created a limited guardianship in Kelly for the purpose of pursuing a medical malpractice complaint, one that was in effect until the appointment of Keeli.

“Additionally, the complaint filed by Kelly was dismissed because the superior court concluded that she did not have standing to file suit on behalf of Carrie, which, even if the correct decision, had nothing to do with the merits of the complaint. In summary, the suit was timely filed, diligently prosecuted in good faith, and it failed for a reason other than Kelly’s negligence. The complaint filed by Keeli, essentially identical to the one previously filed by Kelly, therefore survives pursuant to the JAS.”

 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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