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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 2 NFP memorandum decision(s)) [Clarified]

For publication opinions today (1):

In Charles McKeen, M.D. v. Billy Turner, a 24-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

Relying on the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act and precedent from our Supreme Court, we hold that a medical malpractice plaintiff need only present the following to a medical review panel: (1) a proposed complaint that encompasses the theories of malpractice alleged in the subsequent litigation sufficiently to satisfy our notice pleading requirements; and (2) evidence relating to the theories of alleged malpractice that the plaintiff seeks to raise during the subsequent litigation. Additionally, we hold that narrative statements submitted to the panel do not subsequently bind the parties. Because these requirements were met in this case, we affirm the trial court’s order and remand for further proceedings. * * *

Dr. McKeen argues that the trial court should have granted his motion to strike the testimony of Dr. Manges insofar as that testimony relates to the prescription (or lack thereof) of anticoagulation medicine to Rowena during and immediately following the first hospital stay. Dr. McKeen contends that because this theory of liability was not presented to the MRP, Turner is prohibited from raising it at this point. Dr. McKeen relies primarily on caselaw in making his argument, although an exploration of relevant statutes is also required. * * *

In this case, Turner’s proposed complaint encompassed the allegations related to the anticoagulation medication prescribed during and after the first hospital stay. And evidence related to those allegations was before the MRP. Consequently, the trial court properly denied Dr. McKeen’s motion to strike evidence related to those allegations.

Conclusion. The Act requires that the MRP consider two things in reaching its conclusion on a claim of medical malpractice: (1) the proposed complaint; and (2) the evidence submitted by the plaintiff. Our Supreme Court has held that so long as, under principles of notice pleading, the proposed complaint encompasses specific allegations regarding the defendant’s alleged malpractice that were not explicitly raised to the MRP, those allegations may be raised for the first time during subsequent litigation. In other words, the plaintiff’s narrative at trial need not be identical to his MRP narrative so long as evidence relating to his theories of malpractice was before the panel.

To synthesize these two sources of authority, we hold that a plaintiff may raise any theories of alleged malpractice during litigation following the MRP process if (1) the proposed complaint encompasses the theories, and (2) the evidence related to those theories was before the MRP. In this case, those requirements were met, and Turner may therefore raise his theory related to the anticoagulant at this time.

The judgment of the trial court is affirmed and remanded for further proceedings.

ILB Note: McKeen v. Turner is Judge Baker's 5,000th opinion for the Court of Appeals.

To clarify:
This is Judge Baker's 5,000th authored majority Court of Appeals opinion.

NFP civil decisions today (1):

In the Matter of: A.K., A Child in Need of Services: J.K. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Jorge Lopez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 4, 2016 11:03 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions