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Medmal claim sent via FedEx before deadline was timely filed

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A medical malpractice complaint was timely filed when an attorney delivered it to Federal Express a day before the statutory deadline, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, reversing lower court orders and remanding the complaint to the trial court.

Justices reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants that was issued by a LaPorte Superior Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals in Bonnie Moryl, as Surviving Spouse and Personal Representative of the Estate of Richard A. Moryl v. Carey B. Ransone, M.D., La Porte Hospital, Dawn Forney, RN, Wanda Wakeman, RN BSBA, et al., 46S04-1403-CT-149. 

In a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Brent Dickson, justices settled an issue of first impression, holding “that the commencement of a medical malpractice action occurs when a copy of the proposed complaint is deposited for mailing by registered mail or by certain private delivery services and that the plaintiff’s complaint was timely filed in this case.”

Richard Moryl died under the defendants’ care at LaPorte Hospital on April 20, 2007, and the proposed malpractice complaint was sent via FedEx to the Indiana Department of Insurance on April 19, 2009. The department received and file stamped the complaint April 21, one day after the filing deadline, and the trial court granted summary judgment on the basis of untimely filing.

Justices analyzed conflicting statutes that until recent years were ambiguous as to whether cases were deemed filed when provided to a courier or third-party carriers other than the U.S. Postal Service. Longstanding Indiana law has provided that matters are filed when they are delivered or mailed by certified or registered mail.
 
"Our decision constitutes a refusal to elevate form over substance," Dickson wrote. "We see no substantive difference between a proposed medical malpractice complaint mailed via FedEx Priority Overnight, tracking and return receipt requested, and a proposed complaint mailed via USPS registered and certified mail. And neither does the Indiana General Assembly, as evident by their adoption of Indiana Code section 1-1-7-1."
 
 

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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