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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 opinion(s) today (and 4 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (2):

In Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. v. Charles Wilmoth and Kent Vassey, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, a 20-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:

Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. (“Celadon”) appeals the trial court’s judgment in favor of Charles Wilmoth, Kent Vassey, and a class of similarly-situated individuals (“the Class”) in the amount of $3,302,923.60 plus pre- and postjudgment interest. We affirm.

The restated issues before us are: I. whether the trial court properly denied Celadon’s motion for judgment on the pleadings; and II. whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the Class members on their claim that Celadon overcharged them for fuel purchases they made using a Celadon-issued debit card. * * *

The standard contract between Celadon and the Class members was ambiguous. There are no genuine issues of material fact precluding us from resolving that ambiguity as a matter of law. We agree with the trial court and the Class’s interpretation of the contract and, therefore, affirm the denial of Celadon’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Class. Affirmed.

In ABC Radiology, P.C., Jane Doe, John Doe, Anonymous Medical Associates, Inc., Sherry Patrick v. Cathy Gearhart , a 14-page opinion, Judge Altice writes:
Cathy Gearhart’s husband, Kent, died from renal cell cancer on January 14, 2015. After filing her proposed complaint for damages with the Indiana Department of Insurance, Gearhart, individually and as personal representative of Kent’s estate, filed the instant action against various defendants. As amended, the complaint alleges two counts based on claims of negligence and one count seeking declaratory judgment. Count I is a medical malpractice claim against ABC Radiology, P.C. (ABC), John Doe, M.D. (Dr. Doe), Anonymous Medical Associates, Inc. (AMA), and Jane Doe, ACNP (Nurse Doe). Count II is a common-law negligence claim against Sherry Patrick and her employer, AMA. Count III (incorrectly denominated as a second Count II in the amended complaint) is a claim for declaratory judgment against the Indiana Patients Compensation Fund/Indiana Department of Insurance (the Fund), AMA, Patrick, and AMA’s medical malpractice and general liability insurers. Count III seeks a determination of whether the claim in Count II is subject to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (the Act), which insurance policies provide coverage for this claim, and whether the Fund has a duty to make payments for any damages awarded for Count II.

Gearhart filed the complaint in the Marion Superior Court. Thereafter, the defendants named in Counts I and II (Defendants) jointly filed a motion requesting that the trial court sever Counts I and II from Count III and transfer venue of Counts I and II to Vanderburgh County, where the alleged negligence occurred and Defendants are located. Defendants argued further that Count III was improperly joined.

Gearhart responded that Marion County was a county of preferred venue because a necessary defendant to the action – the Fund – is a governmental organization with its principal office located there. See Ind. Trial Rule 75(A)(5). Gearhart argued also that all three counts were properly joined pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 20 because they arise out of the same transaction or occurrence and have common questions of law and fact. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. Defendants bring this interlocutory appeal, arguing that Gearhart’s joinder of the underlying negligence claims with the declaratory judgment claim was improper and deprived Defendants of their right to trial in a preferred venue county. Thus, we are asked to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendants’ motion to sever Counts I and II from Count III and transfer venue for those counts to Vanderburgh County. * * *

Defendants have not established that the trial court abused its discretion by finding that Counts I, II, and III were properly joined. Thus, as the Fund is a necessary party to Count III, Marion County is a county of preferred venue for the entire action. See T.R. 75(A)(5).

NFP civil decisions today (2):

Michael Kent Smith v. Thomas L. Taulman, II; Thomas McClelland; Christina R. Hurley; Gary R. Meunier; Denny D. Smith; T.K.O. Enterprises, Inc.,; T.K.O. Commercial Development, LLC; et al. (mem. dec.)

Christine Wedding v. Donald S. Wedding (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (2):

Patrick Scott Norman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Michael A. Wilson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 7, 2017 11:08 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions