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Panel disagrees in admitting expert testimony

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that a trial court didn't err in allowing into evidence an injured woman's testimony about medical tests and the cause of her pain. The judges did disagree about whether the court erred in granting the woman's motion to strike portions of the defendant's expert medical witness's testimony.

Amanda Cave was injured in a car accident when Eric Sibbing's car slammed into the back of hers as she slowed while driving. At the time of the accident, she told responders she didn't need an ambulance, but as the days went on the pain in her foot and back became worse so she sought medical treatment. She eventually visited a chiropractor and underwent a nerve conduction study.

Cave filed her negligence suit against Sibbing, who admitted fault for the crash. The trial court granted her motion to strike portions of the testimony of Sibbing's expert medical witness, Dr. Paul Kern, who said the nerve conduction study and chiropractic care were unnecessary. The jury awarded her $71,675 for damages.

On appeal in Eric P. Sibbing v. Amanda N. Cave, No. 49A02-0802-CV-165, Sibbing challenged the decision by the trial court to admit certain testimony by Cave's witnesses and to exclude portions of Kern's testimony.

The judges, citing Coffey v. Coffey, 649 N.E.2d 1074, 1078 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), ruled the trial court didn't appear to err in admitting Cave's testimony about what her doctor had told her about diagnostic tests and the cause of her pain. Most of the information to which Cave testified was presented to the jury through other exhibits or witnesses, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented from Judges Mathias and Elaine Brown's ruling that the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in granting Cave's motion to strike Kern's testimony. In his dissent, the chief judge wrote he disagreed with the majority's view that the holding in Whitaker v. Kruse, 495 N.E.2d 233 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986), precludes a defendant from calling an expert witness to render an opinion as to whether all of a plaintiff's treatments were reasonable or necessary under the circumstances.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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