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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. 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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