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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today

In Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Judy Holcomb, Personal Representative of the Estate of Mable Louise Cochran, Deceased, a 7-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:

This case presents a question of first impression: whether Indiana's Medical Malpractice Act's cap on attorney fees from a Patient Compensation Fund award also applies to reduce the Fund's liability. In this adult wrongful death medical malpractice case, the trial court ordered payment by the Fund to the Estate, without any reduction to reflect the limitation on attorney fees. In a divided opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. Ind. Patient's Comp. Fund v. Holcomb, 998 N.E.2d 989 (Ind. Ct. App. Nov. 27, 2013). We granted transfer and now affirm the trial court. * * *

In conclusion, we decline to construe the Fee Cap Provision of the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, Ind. Code § 34-18-18-1, to reduce the Patient's Compensation Fund's liability to a plaintiff AWDS claimant. The Fee Cap Provision applies only to cap the fees that the plaintiff's lawyer may charge his or her client as to the award the client receives from the Fund, but it does not lessen the Fund's liability to a claimant. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Oral argument was held 6/12/14.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 26, 2014 03:57 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions