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Justices revive malpractice suit alleging doctor’s failure to warn patient not to drive

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A medical malpractice suit arising from a debilitating head-on automobile crash should not have been disposed of through summary judgment in favor of the doctor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Justices reversed the order and sent the case back to the trial court.

Mary Alice Manley was severely injured in a car crash in 2006 after which she overheard the driver of the other car, Kimberly Zehr, say she shouldn’t be driving because of her medical condition. Manley was hospitalized and suffered permanent, debilitating injuries. A personal-injury suit against Zehr settled for an undisclosed sum, according to the record.

In 2008, Manley filed a proposed medical malpractice claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance that asserted Dr. Ryan Sherer and Sherer Family Practice in Huntingburg were negligent for failing to warn Zehr not to drive while she was on medication.

The trial court granted the defense motion for summary judgment on its assertion that the malpractice claim wasn’t timely filed, and that the claim lacked an element of causation.   

In Mary Alice Manley, and Gary Manley v. Ryan J. Sherer, M.D., and Sherer Family Medicine, P.C., 59S01-1205-PL-249, the court reversed summary judgment granted by Special Judge Terrence Cody in Orange Circuit Court, as had a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals.   

“Finding genuine issues of material fact (1) as to when the plaintiffs either, (a) knew of the alleged malpractice, or (b) learned of facts that, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should lead to the discovery of the malpractice and resulting injury; and (2) as to the absence of the element of causation necessary to establish liability, we conclude that the defendants’ motion for summary judgment should have been denied,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the unanimous court.

“The judgment of the trial court is therefore reversed and this cause remanded for further proceedings.”
 
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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