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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ind. Decisions - One today from the Supreme Court

In Steven Spangler and Heidi Brown v. Barbara Bechtel, Expectations Women's Health and Childbearing Center, and St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, a 17-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:

Following the death of their full-term baby daughter in utero during labor, just before childbirth, the plaintiffs Steven Spangler and Heidi Brown brought this action seeking damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress. In the ensuing litigation, the trial court granted summary judgment to St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, to Barbara Bechtel (the nurse-midwife who provided pre-natal care during the mother's pregnancy and managed her labor at the hospital), and to Expectations Women's Health and Childbearing Center ("the Center") (alleged by the plaintiffs to be Bechtel's employer). The Court of Appeals reversed as to all three defendants. Spangler v. Bechtel, 931 N.E.2d 387 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). We granted transfer and now hold that the parents' separate actions seeking damages for emotional distress from experiencing the stillbirth of their child are not barred by the Indiana Child Wrongful Death Act or the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 13, 2011 11:40 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions