COA to hear wrongful death appeal at Indy community center

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Questions of whether claims from a deceased man’s estate allege facts that fall under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act after he died from a leg injury will be heard during an Appeals on Wheels oral argument Wednesday at the Indianapolis Jewish Community Center.

An Indiana Court of Appeals panel comprised of Judges Margret G. Robb, Paul D. Mathias, and Robert R. Altice, Jr. will hear argument in the case of Linda Martinez, et al. v. Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, Inc., 18A-CT-02883.

Before his death, Roy Martinez was resident of Metcalf House, a voluntary group home operated by Oaklawn Psychiatric Center that offers supervised living for patients who do not require inpatient services. While Martinez was watching television past curfew hours, a struggle ensued between Martinez and a resident assistant that resulted in Martinez suffering a large, bleeding cut on his leg after the assistant kicked him. Martinez died as a result of the injury.

His estate filed a complaint against Oaklawn alleging liability for Martinez’s injuries and resulting death under the Wrongful Death Act. However, Oaklawn contested that because it is a qualified health care provider under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, the estate was required to file its claim with the medical review panel. The St. Joseph Superior Court granted Oaklawn’s motion to dismiss under Trial Rule 12(B)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding the resident assistant was acting within the scope of his employment.

But in an appeal, the estate argues that the resident assistant’s act of kicking Martinez does not qualify as health care and is not entitled to protection under the Act. The estate additionally argues that its claim that Oaklawn is liable based on the theory of premises liability can be resolved without any specialized medical knowledge or expert testimony and therefore falls outside of the Act.

The argument will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Laikin Auditorium, 6701 Hoover Road.

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