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Woman’s amended complaint is within limitations period

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday spurned a previous ruling from the court and instead looked to a Vermont case to decide that a woman’s amended complaint should not be dismissed for being outside the statute of limitations.

Kris Schoolcraft, as personal representative of the wrongful death estate of Rickie D. Schoolcraft, sued mower manufacturer Magic Circle Corp. after Rickie Schoolcraft died from injuries sustained in a mower accident. On May 4, 2012, a day before the limitations period expired, she moved to amend the claim to add defendants who made parts for the mower. The motion was file-stamped that day; the trial court granted the motion to amend May 15.

The new defendants claim the amended complaint fell outside the limitations period. The trial court denied their motion to dismiss, determining the limitation period was tolled the moment Schoolcraft filed her proposed amended complaint and the summonses.

Based on A.J.’s Auto Sales Inc. v. Freet, 725 N.E.2d 955 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), the Court of Appeals should dismiss Schoolcraft’s amended complaint. The circumstances in the instant case are nearly identical to those in A.J.’s, Judge Melissa May pointed out. But instead, the appellate panel declined to follow A.J.’s and instead followed the rule that a majority of state and federal courts follow in situations where a motion to file an amended complaint is brought within the limitations period but not granted by the trial court until after the limitations period has expired.

That rule was articulated in The Children’s Store v. Cody Enters, Inc., 580 A.2d 1206, 1209-11 (Vt. 1990). The opinion stated, “If the date of commencement is based on when the court grants the motion to amend rather than when the plaintiff files the motion and proposed complaint, the plaintiff is left with uncertainty over whether the statute of limitation requirements will be met. The matter is out of the hands of the plaintiff and is controlled by the vagaries of the court’s workload. The better rule is that the action is commenced when the plaintiff files the motion to amend and the proposed complaint irrespective of when the court grants the motion to amend.”

If the panel followed A.J.’s, May wrote in Magic Circle Corporation, d/b/a Dixie Chopper, The Kelch Corporation, et al. v. Kris Schoolcraft as Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of Rickie D. Schoolcraft, Deceased, 29A02-1303-CT-273, it would punish Schoolcraft for the court’s unavoidable delay in issuing an order granting leave to amend a complaint.
 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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