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Woman who used FedEx to send med mal complaint didn’t timely file

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Third-party carriers are not included in the statute regarding filing proposed medical malpractice complaints with the Indiana Department of Insurance, so a woman’s complaint that was sent via FedEx within the two-year statute of limitations – but not stamped until after the limitations expired – is not considered timely filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Bonnie Moryl argued that her proposed medical malpractice complaint stemming from the death of her husband on April 20, 2007, which she sent to the DOI on April 19, 2009,  should be considered timely filed even though the department did not receive it and file stamp it until April 21. The defendants sought summary judgment, claiming the complaint was filed outside of the two-year statute of limitations, which the LaPorte Superior Court granted.  

This is an issue of first impression for Indiana courts, in which Moryl claims that because Ind. Rules of Trial Procedure and the Rules of Appellate Procedure consider a pleading filed on the date it was deposited with a third-party carrier, the Medical Malpractice Act should also allow a proposed complaint to be considered filed with the DOI on the day it was sent FedEx Priority Overnight.

“Moryl correctly observes that (Trial Rule 5(F)(4) and Appellate Rule 23 deem various documents filed when they are deposited with a third-party carrier. However, Moryl fails to demonstrate that these rules extend to Indiana Code section 34-18-7-3(b). As the trial court pointed out in the summary judgment order, the issue here does not involve a filing in this court or with the trial court. Rather, the case involves a filing with Department, which is an administrative agency,” Judge John Baker wrote in Bonnie Moryl, as Surviving Spouse and Personal Rep. of the Estate of Richard A. Moryl, Deceased v. Carey B. Ransone, M.D.; La Porte Hospital; Dawn Forney, RN; Wanda Wakeman, RN BSBA; et al., 46A04-1112-CT-710.

“There are no provisions suggesting that a proposed complaint is considered filed with the Department – an administrative agency – when it is deposited with a third-party commercial carrier. And contrary to Moryl’s argument that the statutes are ambiguous regarding the use of a third-party carrier, Indiana Code section 34-18-7-3(b) provides that a proposed complaint is considered filed when a copy of the proposed complaint is delivered or mailed by registered or certified mail to the Department. The use of other methods such as first class mail, a third-party carrier, or messenger, commands that filing a medical malpractice complaint under Indiana Code section 34-18-7-1(b) occurs on the date that the pleadings or complaint is received.”

Baker also pointed out that the Indiana Supreme Court has made it clear that trial rules do not govern the operations of administrative agencies or conditions precedent to the judicial review of administrative decisions.

 

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  • Timely
    What on earth gives the courts the right to set time limits on filing law suits? In fact what gives the courts or the lawmakers the right to set time limits on anything. If the law and the courts can prevent a person from receiving just compensation, by setting time limits, then there should be a statute of limitations on murder!

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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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