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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, reversing trial court

In Mary Alice Manley, and Gary Manley v. Ryan J. Sherer, M.D., and Sherer Family Medicine, P.C., a 7-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Dickson writes:

In this medical malpractice action the plaintiffs, Mary Alice Manley and Gary Manley, appeal from a grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Dr. Ryan Sherer and Sherer Family Medicine, P.C. We reverse.

On November 27, 2006, Mary Manley was involved in a head-on automobile collision with Kimberly Zehr. At the scene of the accident, Ms. Manley overheard Ms. Zehr say that "she not be driving because of her medical condition." At an unspecified later date, Ms. Manley learned of an undated letter from Ms. Zehr's physician, Dr. Sherer, to the Orange County Prosecuting Attorney reporting that Ms. Zehr had several medical conditions that, combined with medications she had been prescribed by Dr. Sherer, may have contributed to the automobile accident.

The plaintiffs sued Ms. Zehr alleging that, as a result of the collision, Ms. Manley suffered permanent, debilitating injuries that required extensive hospitalization and Mr. Manley suffered a loss of spousal consortium. That case settled for an undisclosed sum. On November 25, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance against Dr. Sherer and his medical group alleging medical negligence in failing to warn Ms. Zehr not to drive while she was taking her medication. On July 30, 2010, the defendants filed a motion for preliminary determination of law and for summary judgment contending that the plaintiffs failed to timely file their complaint. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defend-ants, the plaintiffs appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed. Manley v. Sherer, 960 N.E.2d 815, 818 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011). We granted transfer, thereby vacating the opinion of the Court of Appeals. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A). * * *

Finding genuine issues of material fact (1) as to when the plaintiffs either, (a) knew of the alleged malpractice, or (b) learned of facts that, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should lead to the discovery of the malpractice and resulting injury; and (2) as to the absence of the ele-ment of causation necessary to establish liability, we conclude that the defendants' motion for summary judgment should have been denied. The judgment of the trial court is therefore reversed and this cause remanded for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 8, 2013 03:06 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions