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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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