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Trial court shouldn't have struck expert witness affidavit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for a doctor in his attempt to collect an unpaid medical bill, finding the trial court erred when it struck the affidavit of an expert witness designated by the defendant.

In Marianne Jackson v. Thomas Trancik, M.D., No. 29A02-1012-CC-1391, Marianne Jackson went to Dr. Thomas Trancik for two office visits and shoulder surgery, which consisted of four separate procedures performed during one surgery. The bill was $11,147; Jackson paid a $20 co-pay and the doctor received nearly $6,000 as payment from Jackson’s insurer. He later filed suit against Jackson to recover the remaining $5,252.

Jackson wanted to introduce an affidavit by Christine Lewis, owner of MedReview Solutions, a firm specializing in reviewing medical bills. Lewis believed that three of the four surgical procedures weren’t billed correctly and that resulted in the doctor overcharging Jackson by more than $3,700. Her affidavit was struck after Trancik argued that Lewis wasn’t an expert qualified to render such an opinion and that her opinion wasn’t shown to be reliable or based on personal knowledge.

Lewis’ curriculum vitae shows she reviews medical bills for a living and she is also a certified public accountant and has completed a training program with Medical Billing Advocates of America. Based on her experience and training, she is qualified to render an expert opinion on the correctness of Trancik’s billing, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb.

“Lewis is not second-guessing Dr. Trancik’s decision to perform the surgery that he did, nor is she opining about the quality of his work or its utility measured in medical terms. Rather, Lewis is opining that given the services that were performed, a different amount should have been billed according to methodology that reflects commonly accepted pricing and reimbursement methods. A trier of fact may consider Lewis’s lack of medical training when evaluating the weight to be given to her opinion, but that does not make her opinion inadmissible,” she wrote.

The judges also found that Lewis’ affidavit establishes a genuine factual issue as to what amount Jackson may owe, so summary judgment for Trancik was an error. They remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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