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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ind. Decisions - "Ruling Called Victory For Medical Malpractice Patients: Court Of Appeals Allows Victim's Widower To Challenge Law"

The COA opinion Oct. 25, 2011 in the case of Timothy W. Plank, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Debra L. Plank, Deceased v. Community Hospitals of Indiana, Inc. and State of Indiana was the subject of this WRTV6 Joanna Massee story last evening. Some quotes:

A ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals will allow a Hancock County widower to challenge the constitutionality of the state's medical malpractice law.

Timothy Plank's wife Debbie died after he said doctors waited too long to perform intestinal surgery.

"It's been a living hell to have to go through this all the time," Plank said. "There were several different mess-ups throughout the chain of events."

In 2009, a jury awarded Plank $8.5 million, $7.25 million more than the state's cap on malpractice damages allows, RTV6's Joanna Massee reported.

Plank's wife died at Community North hospital. Lynda de Widt, Community North spokeswoman, said officials are still evaluating Plank’s claims.

“On Oct. 25, 2011, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a preliminary opinion in the Plank matter. Mr. Plank is attempting to challenge the constitutionality of Indiana’s cap on damages in medical malpractice cases. Without addressing the merits of Mr. Plank’s arguments, the Court found he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing regarding the constitutionality of the state’s malpractice cap. We are still evaluating the Court’s ruling and are beginning our preparation for the evidentiary hearing. After this evidentiary hearing, we believe that the appropriate court will uphold the constitutionality of the medical malpractice cap, which has preserved the availability of health care services in Indiana and has served this state well over the last 35 years,” de Widt said.

This is an important opinion. It was handed downed on one of the rare days when the ILB did not have time to prepare summaries.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 27, 2011 09:51 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions