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Justices to decide whether malpractice claim against law firm can proceed

October 11, 2017

A northern Indiana law firm will have another opportunity to prevent a malpractice claim against it from moving forward after the Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to the case in which the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for the firm.

The justices granted transfer to the case of Elizabeth Roumbos v. Samuel Vazanellis, et al., 45S03-1710-CT-635 last week, agreeing to decide whether the Indiana Court of Appeals properly reversed summary judgment previously granted in favor of Merillville law firm Thiros and Stracci P.C. The case began in January 2011, when 85-year-old Elizabeth Roumbos tripped over wires while visiting her husband at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lake County.

Roumbos hired the firm and attorney Samuel G. Vazanellis to represent her in a negligence case, but after the firm failed to file her complaint within the applicable statute of limitation, she filed a legal malpractice claim. The Lake Superior Court initially entered summary judgment in favor of Thiros and Stracci after finding Roumbos could not prove the negligence suit would have ended in her favor but for the firm’s negligence.

The appellate court, however, reversed that holding in February, finding instead there were genuine issues of material facts as to whether Roumbos’ claim would have succeeded. The court reaffirmed that decision in June after granting rehearing to clarify the difference between the instant malpractice case and previous malpractice case law.

Oral arguments in the case have not yet been scheduled.

The justices also denied transfer to 20 cases last week. The full list of transfer actions can be found here.

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