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. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.