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Friday, July 08, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana does not recognize a private right of action for failure to report child abuse"

That is a quote from a Court of Appeals opinion, Kelli Sprunger v. John A. Egli, M.D., which the ILB quoted in its Sept. 11, 2015 case summary:

Kelli Sprunger, Guernsey’s biological mother, subsequently filed a medical malpractice action against Dr. Egli alleging failure to diagnose and report child abuse. Concluding that Indiana does not recognize a private right of action for failure to report child abuse, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Dr. Egli on August 7, 2014.

Sprunger now appeals, arguing that her claim is premised not on a failure to report, but rather a failure to make a correct diagnosis. We agree with the trial court’s conclusion that Sprunger essentially alleges a failure to report child abuse and hold that the characterization of the claim as medical malpractice does not escape the threshold question of whether the reporting statutes confer a private right of action. As we have already determined that there is no private right of action for failure to report child abuse in Indiana, C.T. v. Gammon, 928 N.E.2d 847, 853-54 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Egli. [ILB: See C.T., pp. 9-12]

Both Sprunger and C.T. came to mind today as I read Kristine Guerra's Indianapolis Star story headed: "Judge: Doctor accused of not reporting child abuse can't be sued." The story begins:
A doctor accused of not reporting suspected abuse of a child who was later killed cannot be sued for medical malpractice, a Marion County judge ruled.

Dr. Chris Loman was facing a lawsuit accusing him of not informing the Indiana Department of Child Services that one of his patients was being abused at home, as required by Indiana law. One-year-old Jayden Noel had a cut on his upper lip and bruises on the right side of his face when Loman examined him in July 2011.

He was beaten to death six months later.

The boy's father, Jerraco Noel, sued Loman and other defendants in March 2013, a little more than a year after his son's death.

In his ruling issued last month, Marion Superior Judge Timothy Oakes cited another medical malpractice lawsuit against a physician who, like Loman, was accused of failing to report and diagnose suspected child abuse. The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the case because Indiana law does not allow private parties to sue for failure to report abuse.

"At the end of the day, the claim brought by Jerraco Noel is not recognized under Indiana law," Oakes wrote.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 8, 2016 02:11 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions