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Personal injury

May 26, 2010
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Trial Report

Donna Saine v. Richard Walker, et al.

Marion Superior Court No. 49D05-0812-CT055117

Injuries: Severe ankle sprain resulting in extensive physical therapy and surgery to repair and replace torn ligaments; permanent nerve damage, swelling, instability, and surgical scarring

Date: March 9, 2010

Judge or Jury Trial: Jury trial

Judge: Hon. Robyn Moberly

Disposition: Verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $121,770.15. Total damages awarded were $143,259 and 85 percent fault on defendants

Plaintiff Attorneys: William E. Winingham and John G. Shubat, Wilson Kehoe & Winingham, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney: Robert F. Ahlgrim Jr., State Farm Litigation Counsel, Indianapolis

Case Information: On Dec. 21, 2006, Donna was on her way downstairs in the home she was renting from defendants when she slipped and fell down the stairs. The stairs did not have a handrail adjacent to the staircase, although the staircase had 15 to 17 steps from top to bottom. Several Indiana building and safety codes require such a staircase to have a handrail available for the use of a person using the stairs. Donna asked the landlords on several occasions to install a handrail, but they refused. Defense contended that plaintiff could have moved out at any time.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiff were Dr. Jeffrey Soldatis of Orthopaedics Indianapolis, who operated on plaintiff’s ankle; and Lee Martin of Robson Forensic in Columbus, Ohio, an architect/building codes expert who testified as to code violations committed by defendants.

Attorney comments: Plaintiff made a settlement demand of $100,000 before trial, and State Farm offered $5,000 to settle the case. Defendants did not testify during the trial.

– William E. Winingham

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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