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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 17 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In Danielle Helms v. Max H. Rudicel, M.D., Open Door/BMH Health Clinic (a division of Cardinal Health Systems), Cardinal Health Systems, d/b/a Ball Memorial Hospital, et al., an 18-page opinion, Judge May writes:

Danielle Helms filed a lawsuit in Delaware Circuit Court (hereinafter “trial court”) against Dr. Max Rudicel, the Open Door Health Clinic (“the Clinic”), Cardinal Health Systems d/b/a Ball Memorial Hospital (“BMH”), Nurse Practitioner Anna Steinbarger, and Emergency Physicians of Delaware County for malpractice related to treatment she received during her pregnancy. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment because a federal court had already determined Dr. Rudicel and the Clinic were federal employees,1 and the limitation period during which Helms could have filed suit had run under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2679.

The trial court determined the federal decision was res judicata as to negligence claims related to the Clinic or Dr. Rudicel’s work there. It also determined BMH was not vicariously liable for actions by the Clinic or by Dr. Rudicel while at the Clinic. The court therefore dismissed the action against the Clinic with prejudice. However, the trial court found a question of fact regarding whether BMH might be vicariously liable for actions at BMH of Dr. Rudicel and Nurse Practitioner Steinbarger.

Helms appeals, arguing (1) the federal decision is not res judicata because that court did not address the issue now before us, (2) the medical providers at the Clinic might have been apparent agents of BMH, and (3) BMH might be vicariously liable even though the Doctor and Clinic are immune from liability. On cross-appeal, BMH challenges the determination BMH might have vicarious liability, arguing BMH told Helms its healthcare providers were independent contractors. * * *

As the federal decision is not res judicata as to BMH’s potential liability as the Doctor and Clinic’s apparent principal and there is a fact question as to such apparent agency, summary judgment for BMH was error. The trial court correctly found BMH might be vicariously liable for any act of Dr. Rudicel or Nurse Practitioner Steinbarger at BMH. We accordingly affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

In Adam Morris v. State of Indiana , a 10-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:
Adam Morris appeals the one-year sentence and order of restitution imposed following his conviction for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated (“OWI”). We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The restated issues before us are:
I. whether Morris’s guilty plea waived his ability to challenge his sentence on direct appeal;
II. whether Morris’s sentence is inappropriate; and
III. whether the trial court properly ordered Morris to pay $14,972.45 in restitution. * * *

We conclude that the purported waiver provisions in the boilerplate plea agreement drafted by the State here are ambiguous as to whether Morris was giving up his right to challenge his sentence as inappropriate under Rule 7(B). As such, we will construe that ambiguity against the State and give Morris the benefit of the doubt and address the appropriateness of his sentence. We also believe it is clear that any purported waiver could not preclude Morris from challenging a sentencing term that exceeded the scope of the plea agreement, as it would constitute a violation of the agreement itself by the trial court. * * *

It is clear that when a plea agreement is silent on the issue of restitution, a trial court may not order the defendant to pay restitution as part of his or her sentence; such an order exceeds the scope of the plea agreement. Sinn v. State, 693 N.E.2d 78, 80 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998). Thus, we reverse the order that Morris pay $14,972.45 in restitution.

Conclusion. Although we decline to find that Morris waived his challenge to the appropriateness of his sentence, we find that sentence to be appropriate. However, we reverse the restitution order against him.

In Virgil D. Cornelious v. State of Indiana, a 7-page opinion, Judge May concludes:
The State presented sufficient evidence Cornelious committed Class B felony aggravated battery because Vaughn’s injuries resulted in serious permanent disfigurement. Additionally, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it enhanced Cornelious’ sentence by twenty years based on his adjudication as an habitual offender. Accordingly, we affirm.
NFP civil opinions today (6):

In Re: The Paternity of J.M., Jo.M. v. M.J. (NFP)

Tori R. Driver v. Todd W.A. Driver (NFP)

William Gordon v. Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Indiana (NFP)

In Re The Marriage of Laura R. Chickadaunce and Mark A. Chickadaunce; Laura R. Chickadaunce v. Mark A. Chickadaunce (NFP)

Dennis Fahlsing v. Shannon Fahlsing and Angela Taylor (NFP)

Robert Hamilton v. Jerry Ablitar (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (11):

Jorge L. Gonzalez v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jeffrey L. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Antonio L. Freeling v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Darnell Chivers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Stanley Short v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Darnell Tinker v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Termaine T. Fields v. State of Indiana (NFP)

John T. Haub, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Justin M. Lewis v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Enri Franklin v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Martize Sevion v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 9, 2013 11:10 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions