Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana

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The anti-SLAPP statute was inapplicable in this medical malpractice action filed by two minors and their parents against a doctor who reported suspected medical child abuse to the Department of Child Services (DSC). The doctor here argued that the lawsuit was a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and that her report to DCS was protected speech shielded by Indiana’s anti-SLAPP statute. The trial court agreed with the doctor and dismissed the lawsuit. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the anti-SLAPP statute was inapplicable because to be protected under the statute a person’s actions must be “in furtherance of” his or her right of petition or free speech and “in connection with a public issue” (see Ind. Code 34-7-7-5); and (2) because Plaintiffs’ lawsuit was not filed to stifle the doctor’s speech on a public issue but to recover damages for alleged medical malpractice, the suit was not the type of suit the anti-SLAPP statute was enacted to prevent. View "Gresk v. Demetris" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a proposed malpractice complaint alleging that Defendant’s medical and surgical treatment of Plaintiff’s wife failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, resulting in her death. In addition to the complaint, Plaintiff submitted to the Medical Review Panel (MRP) his wife’s medical records and a narrative statement. The MRP found that Defendant had met the applicable standard of care. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a complaint in court. Plaintiff named as an expert a hematologist who was expected to testify that Defendant had failed to prescribe the appropriate dosage of anticoagulation medication. Defendant moved to strike the hematologist’s opinion on grounds that Plaintiff’s submission to the MRP did not allege malpractice relating to the anticoagulation medication and so Plaintiff could not pursue the claim in court. The trial court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that Plaintiff was allowed to raise theories of alleged malpractice during litigation following the MRP process. The Supreme Court granted transfer and adopted and incorporated by reference the Court of Appeals opinion, holding that the Court of Appeals’ opinion was consistent with Miller v. Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Inc. View "McKeen v. Turner" on Justia Law

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Eighty-three-year-old Geraldine Siner was admitted to Kindred Hospital in 2007 for treatment of aspiration pneumonia. Geraldine’s children, John Siner and Kathy Siner, later arranged for a transfer to Methodist Hospital. Upon her arrival, Geraldine required immediate treatment for a collapsed lung and was suffering from wounds on her cheeks, infection, and septic shock. Geraldine died twenty days later. The Siners filed a medical malpractice complaint against Kindred Hospital and Dr. Mohammed Majid, alleging that Defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care, proximately resulting in injuries and damages requiring compensation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court reversed after noting that Defendants’ own designated evidence revealed conflicting medical opinions on the element of causation, holding (1) conflicting evidence on a material issue precludes a prima facie case for summary judgment; and (2) Defendants did not affirmatively negate the Siners’ claims as required to merit summary judgment. View "Siner v. Kindred Hosp. Ltd. P’ship" on Justia Law