ILNews

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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
ADVERTISEMENT