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Justices analyze occurrence-based limitations

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Two Indiana Supreme Court justices dissented from the majority today in two medical malpractice suits because they believed the majority's reasoning behind the decisions that both plaintiffs' claims are time-barred would foster suspicion and doubt between health-care providers and their patients.

Justices Brent Dickson and Robert Rucker dissented from the majority's decisions in Lloyd Overton v. Marshall Grillo, D.O., et al., No. 64S04-0811-CV-595, and Victor Herron v. Anthony A. Anigbo, M.D., No. 45S03-0811-CV-594. In the opinions, the majority found both Lloyd and Christine Overtons' medical negligence claim for allegedly misreading a mammogram, and Victor Herron's medical malpractice claim for a surgery performed after a fall to be time-barred by the two-year statue of limitations.

In Herron, the Supreme Court analyzed the occurrence-based limitations period for medical malpractice claims, trigger dates, and reasonable diligence by a patient. The majority ruled in both Herron and Overton that the trigger dates in which the parties learned about the possible malpractice or facts that with reasonable diligence should lead to the discovery of malpractice occurred within the two-year statute of limitations. A patient's window in bringing an action is triggered if the patient should know of the possible malpractice even if there is not reason to suspect malpractice. Overton and Herron had time to file a claim because nothing prevented them from filing within the remaining time period. In Overton, Christine Overton knew of her condition when she was diagnosed with cancer a year after her first mammogram and that she had not been previously diagnosed after that first mammogram.

"That is enough to put the plaintiff on inquiry notice of the possibility of malpractice and ... the remaining several months was more than adequate to explore the issue," wrote Justice Theodore Boehm for the majority in Overton. The justices used similar reasoning to reach the same conclusion in Herron.

But Justices Dickson and Rucker disagreed, with Justice Dickson writing a similar dissent in both opinions. Citing Booth v. Wiley, 839 N.E.2d 1168, 1172 (Ind. 2005), the justice feared the majority's ruling in Herron would create an "unprecedented new and rigorous barrier preventing injured patients a reasonable opportunity to access the courts" for medical malpractice claims. He also worried the majority's rationale would foster a climate of suspicion and doubt between a patient and his or her health-care provider.

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  1. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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