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Seifried v. Dukes Health Sys., LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 19, 2014

CHRISTENA SEIFRIED, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
DUKES HEALTH SYSTEM, LLC, d/b/a DUKES MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Appellee-Defendant

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Patrick L. McCarty, Judge. Cause No. 49D03-1007-CT-32539.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW M. GOLITKO, JARED A. HARTS, Golitko & Daly PC, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ROBERT J. PALMER, May Oberfell Lorber, Mishawaka, Indiana.

FRIEDLANDER, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and BAILEY, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

FRIEDLANDER, Judge

Christina Seifried appeals a grant of summary judgment in favor of Dukes Health System, LLC d/b/a Dukes Memorial Hospital (the Hospital) in Seifried's action for personal injuries allegedly suffered as a result of her fall in the Hospital. Seifried presents the following restated issue for review: Did the trial court err in granting summary judgment in favor of the Hospital?

We reverse and remand.

The facts favorable to Seifried, the nonmoving party, are that on April 14, 2010, Seifried was walking to a diabetes class on the Hospital's premises when she slipped and fell. Seifried was walking at the time with the class's diabetes instructor, Elizabeth Wolfe. Wolfe described Seifried's fall as ending with Seifried having one leg straight and the other bent under her in a " hurdler" position. Appellant's Appendix at 86. According to Seifried, she " did the splits and ... went right on my bottom." Id. at 67.

On July 23, 2010, Seifried filed a complaint for damages against the Hospital alleging that her fall was caused by the Hospital's negligence, listing four specific allegations of negligence, including: failing to provide a safe environment for its business invitees; creating a hazardous condition for its business invitees; failing to discover and remedy the hazardous condition; and failing to warn of the hazardous condition. On September 25, 2012, the Hospital filed a motion for summary judgment on grounds that Seifried did not know how or why she fell, and thus there was no evidence as to causation. Seifried filed a motion in opposition to the Hospital's motion for summary judgment as well as a cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the question of duty. The trial court conducted a hearing, after which it issued a two-page order granting the Hospital's motion for summary judgment and finding Seifried's motion for partial summary judgment thereby moot. After considering the evidence designated by the parties, the court held there was a failure of proof as to the element of causation. The order granting summary judgment stated:

3. Under Indiana law, negligence is not inferred from the mere fact of an accident.
4. More specifically, causation may not be inferred merely from an allegedly negligent condition. ... No inference of causation may be made when it rests on ...

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