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									                 The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter
                            The Most Current and Complete Summary of Indiana Jury Verdicts

January, 2011                                   Statewide Jury Verdict Coverage                                     12 IJVR 1


                                   Unbiased and Independently Researched Jury Verdict Results

In This Issue                                              Correction                     up a load of pallets from a company in
                                                                                          South River, NJ and was on his way to
M arion County                                 The April 2007 edition of the Indiana      deliver them to a Proctor & Gamble
Auto Negligence - $40,000              p. 2    Jury Verdict Reporter commented on
Auto Negligence - Defense verdict      p. 7                                               plant in Green Bay, W I. His route took
                                               a case from Indiana wherein Neal           him west on U.S. 30 in Columbia City.
Parking Negligence - $12,897           p. 11
                                               Boyd, IV was shot and killed while on         At the same time, Jacquelyn Gates,
Lake County
Truck Negligence - $2,101,000          p. 1    school property. The report                age 57, was also driving west on U.S. 30
Medical Negligence - Defense verdict   p. 2    mistakenly included information that       in a 2002 Oldsmobile minivan. Gates’s
School Negligence - Defense verdict    p. 4    was in part misleading. The Indiana        adult son, Sam Gates, was riding with
Premises Liability - Defense verdict   p. 11   Jury Verdict Reporter and its staff        her as a passenger, as was a friend
Delaware County                                apologize for any harm caused to the       named Christopher Bond. Finally,
Auto Negligence - $20,000              p. 3                                               Gates’s elderly mother, Mattie
                                               family of Neal Boyd, IV as a result
Vigo County                                                                               Rhenwrick, age 85, was riding in the
Auto Negligence - $30,000              p. 4    thereof.
                                                                                          back seat.
Porter County                                                                                Gates stopped for a red light at the
Medical Negligence - Defense verdict   p. 5
Breach of Contract - Defense verdict   p. 10   Truck Negligence - An elderly              intersection with C.R. 300 W est. As she
Federal Court - New Albany                     woman was seriously injured and            did so, W allace approached from behind
Race/Sex Harassment - Defense          p. 5    witnessed the death of her daughter        in his semi truck. W allace would later
Tippecanoe County                              in a crash that happened when a            explain that at just that moment he was
Auto Negligence - $125,000             p. 5    tractor-trailer rear-ended the van in      preoccupied with scanning his mirrors.
Johnson County                                 which the woman was riding                 As a result, he did not notice that Gates
Medical Negligence - Defense verdict   p. 6    Rhenwrick v. Schneider National            was stopped in front of him until he was
M adison County                                Carriers, et al., 45C01-0805-CT-72         only about 75 feet from her van.
School Negligence - $10,000            p. 7    Plaintiff: Kenneth J. Allen and Bryan         As soon as W allace realized what was
Allen County                                   Bradley, Kenneth J. Allen & Associates,    happening, he slammed on his brakes
Underinsured Motorist - $28,120        p. 8    P.C., Valparaiso                           and tired turning to the left to avoid a
Bartholomew County                             Defense: Michael B. Langford and           collision. Despite these efforts, a part of
Medical Negligence - Defense verdict   p. 9                                               his truck collided with part of Gates’s
                                               Misti Presnell DeVore, Scopelitis
Lawrence County                                                                           van.
                                               Garvin Light Hanson & Feary, P.C.,
Underinsured Motorist - $65,814        p. 9
                                               Indianapolis                                  It was a significant crash that left all
M onroe County
                                               Verdict: $2,101,000 for plaintiff          the occupants of the van with serious
Forklift Negligence - $700,000         p. 12
                                               County: Lake, Circuit                      injuries. Gates herself died of her
                                               Court:       J. McDevitt (Magistrate),     injuries. Her mother, Rhenwrick was
                                                            8-4-10                        trapped in the crumpled van for nearly
Civil Jury Verdicts                               On 8-20-07, Justin W allace, age 25,    an hour before she could be extricated.
   Timely coverage of civil jury               was hired to work as a semi truck driver   During that time Rhenwrick witnessed
verdicts in Indiana including court,           for Schneider National Carriers, a         the death of her daughter, and her own
division, presiding judge, parties, cause      shipping company located at 7101 W est     left leg was crushed and nearly severed.
number, attorneys and results.                 17th Street in Gary. Schneider National       Rhenwrick and Gates’s estate filed
                                               apparently operates its own in-house       suit against Schneider National and
                                               training program for the company’s         W allace. Bond and Sam Gates later
                                               truck drivers. Although W allace           joined the case as co-plaintiffs.
                                               completed that program, he would later     However, the claims of the estate, Sam
                                               say he felt the training was too short.    Gates, and Bond settled at mediation
                                                  In the afternoon of 5-4-08, slightly    and were dismissed.
                                               over eight months after being hired by
                                               Schneider National, W allace had picked
January 2011                                          12 IJVR 11                                                             2

   The litigation proceeded solely on      Auto Negligence - A woman and               Medical Negligence - A man
Rhenwrick’s claim. According to her,       her minor daughter were injured in a        developed serious vision problems
Schneider National was vicariously         crash; defendant admitted fault and         after undergoing Lasik eye surgery;
liable for the actions of its employee,    defended on damages                         the man blamed his problems on his
W allace. In addition, Rhenwrick noted     Wilson, et al. v. Hanza,                    ophthalmologist’s failure to recognize
that W allace had a poor driving history   49D12-0905-CT-23987                         that he was not in fact a good
involving several accidents and other      Plaintiff: Troy K. Rivera, Nunn Law         candidate for the surgery
problems, and W allace himself stated      Office, Bloomington                         Collins v. Lewyckyj,
that Schneider National’s training         Defense: Ryan D. Etter, Collignon &         45D10-0904-CT-73
program was inadequate.                    Dietrick, P.C., Indianapolis                Plaintiff: Thomas A. Clements,
   Based on those theories, Rhenwrick      Verdict: $40,000 for plaintiffs             Clements Law Office, Merrillville
argued that Schneider National acted       (allocated $37,500 for Crissy and           Defense: Alyssa F. Stamatakos and
recklessly in keeping W allace on the      $2,500 for Arianna)                         Carly A. Brandenburg, Eichhorn &
road. If successful, Rhenwrick sought      County: M arion, Superior                   Eichhorn, LLP., Hammond
both compensatory and punitive             Court:       J. W elch, 8-24-10             Verdict: Defense verdict on liability
damages. Plaintiff’s identified expert        A crash took place on 10-2-07 in         County: Lake, Superior
on transportation safety was Anita         Marion County. It happened when             Court:       J. Pera, 6-16-10
Kerezman of Palm Springs, CA.              Tasheana Hanza collided with a vehicle         In June of 2004, Matthew Collins was
   Schneider National fired W allace on    being driven by Crissy W ilson. Riding      preparing to undergo Lasik eye surgery.
6-25-08, less than two months after the    with W ilson as a passenger was her         The procedure was to be performed by
crash. As for the litigation, defendants   minor daughter, Arianna Tabor.              Dr. Myron Lewyckyj, an
admitted fault and that Schneider             Both W ilson and Tabor claimed to        ophthalmologist employed by the Falton
National was responsible for W allace’s    have been injured in the crash.             Lewyckyj Evans Eye Clinic in Crown
actions. Instead, defendants focused       However, the record does not reveal the     Point.
their defense on the issue of punitive     nature of their alleged injuries or the        Prior to the surgery, Dr. Lewyckyj
damages.                                   amounts of their respective medical         performed a complete ophthalmological
   According to defendants, W allace       expenses.                                   examination on Collins. Dr. Lewyckyj’s
was fully trained as a truck driver and       On her own behalf, and on behalf of      conclusion from that examination was
was tested, licensed, and properly         Tabor as her next friend, W ilson filed     that Collins’s eyes were normal and that
supervised. Thus, according to             suit against Hanza and blamed her for       he was a good candidate for the surgery.
defendants, there was nothing reckless     causing the crash. Plaintiffs also filed       The surgery was performed on 6-11-
in Schneider National’s decision to        an uninsured/underinsured motorist          04. Following the surgery, Collins
keep W allace on the road, and an award    claim against their own insurer, Allstate   developed serious vision problems in his
of punitive damages would therefore be     Insurance.                                  left eye. Those problems have
inappropriate.                                Plaintiffs later stipulated to the       continued to worsen, and Collins has
   The case was tried for four days in     dismissal of the UM/UIM claim against       been diagnosed with post-Lasik ectasia.
Crown Point. The jury returned a           Allstate. The litigation proceeded             This is a condition in which the
verdict for Rhenwrick and awarded her      solely on the claims against Hanza. She     corneal tissue that remains following
$2,101,000 in compensatory damages.        admitted fault for the crash but disputed   Lasik surgery is too thin to handle the
On the claim for punitive damages, the     the nature and extent of plaintiffs’        normal pressure and thus begins to
jury found for Schneider National. The     claimed injuries.                           weaken. This weakening of the corneal
court entered a judgment for the full         The case was tried in a single day in    tissue causes it to bulge or otherwise
verdict amount, and it has been            Indianapolis. The jury returned a           deform, leading in turn to myopia and
satisfied.                                 verdict for plaintiffs and awarded          astigmatism.
                                           damages of $37,500 to W ilson and              Collins presented the matter to a
                                           $2,500 to Tabor. That brought the           medical review panel comprised of three
                                           combined award to $40,000. The court        ophthalmologists. They were Dr.
                                           entered a judgment to that effect, and      W illiam Keeling of Greenwood, Dr. Earl
                                           Hanza has satisfied it.                     Lanter of Indianapolis, and Dr. Steven
                                                                                       Grossnickle of Mishawaka.
                                                                                          According to Collins, Dr. Lewyckyj’s
                                                                                       pre-surgical examination was inadequate
                                                                                       in that it failed to assess properly the
                                                                                       condition of his left eye. If Dr.
                                                                                       Lewyckyj had performed a proper
                                                                                       examination, he would have found that
January 2011                                              12 IJVR 11                                                        3



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Collins was not in fact a good candidate    Auto Negligence - A woman                    DaRhonda underwent a round of
for the surgery.                            claimed she developed fibromyalgia        trigger point injections and followed a
   The medical review panel                 due to a rear-end crash                   course of physical therapy. Her medical
unanimously concluded that Dr.              Brown v. Johnson, 18C01-0607-PL-26        expenses are unknown. Also, the record
Lewyckyj’s treatment of Collins did         Plaintiff: Thomas Malapit and Tara M.     does not reveal the nature of Benjamin’s
indeed breach the ophthalmologist           Smalstig, Dennis Wenger & Abrell,         claimed injuries.
standard of care and that the breach was    P.C., Muncie                                 DaRhonda and Benjamin filed suit
a factor in Collins’s damages. Collins      Defense: Jennifer M. Herrmann,            against Johnson and blamed him for
filed suit against Dr. Lewyckyj and         Kighlinger & Gray, LLP., Indianapolis     crashing into them. DaRhonda’s
reiterated his claims.                      Verdict: $20,000 for DaRhonda; zero       husband, Todd Brown, also presented a
   Dr. Lewyckyj defended the case and       for Todd and Benjamin                     derivative claim for his loss of
denied having breached the standard of      County: Delaware, Circuit                 consortium. Plaintiffs’ identified
care. He also disputed the issue of         Court:     J. Vorhees, 1-28-10            experts included Dr. Neal Coleman,
causation, and he accused Collins of           A crash took place on 7-14-04 in       Pain Management, Muncie; Dr. Miriam
having failed to mitigate his damages.      Delaware County. It happened when         Ibrahim, Physical Medicine, Muncie;
The record does not identify defense        Daniel Johnson rear-ended a vehicle       and Dr. Sarah Thomas, Internal
experts.                                    being driven by DaRhonda Brown.           Medicine, Indianapolis.
   The case was tried for three days in     Benjamin Brown was riding as a               Johnson defended the case and
Crown Point. The jury returned a            passenger with DaRhonda and would         minimized plaintiffs’ claimed damages.
verdict for Dr. Lewyckyj, and the court     later also claim to have been injured.    He also sought to place a portion of the
entered a consistent defense judgment.         DaRhonda did not seek immediate        blame for the crash on DaRhonda. The
                                            medical treatment following the crash.    identified defense experts included Dr.
                                            The next morning, however, she woke       Michael Kaveney, Orthopedics, Carmel;
                                            with stiffness in her neck. DaRhonda      Dr. John W ulff, Neurology, Muncie; and
                                            sought treatment and was ultimately       Dr. Andrew Combs, Orthopedics,
                                            diagnosed with fibromyalgia.              Muncie.
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