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Hitchens v. Collection Specialists, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 11, 2014

MICHAEL E. HITCHENS, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
COLLECTION SPECIALISTS, INC., Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE MADISON CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable David A. Happe, Judge. Cause No. 48C04-1208-SC-4256.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DAVID W. STONE IV, Anderson, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JOHN G. GARMAN, Anderson, Indiana.

PYLE, Judge. MATHIAS, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 419

PYLE, Judge.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Michael E. Hitchens (" Hitchens" ) appeals the small claims court's judgment in favor of Collection Specialists, Inc. (" Collection Specialists" ) concerning a bill for dental work.

We affirm.

ISSUE

Whether the small claims court denied Hitchens the due process of law when it admitted a letter containing hearsay into evidence.

FACTS

On July 19, 2010, Hitchens visited his periodontist, Doctor VanDorn (" Dr. VanDorn" ), for a routine examination of his gums. While there, Hitchens mentioned that he had noticed that some of his teeth--numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8--were slightly loose. Hitchens had an implant bridge on those four teeth, and Dr. VanDorn recommended that Hitchens talk to his dentist, Doctor Bradley Laconi (" Dr. Laconi" ), about recementing the bridge. Hitchens already had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Laconi for the following day concerning unrelated dental work, so the next day he discussed the matter of the loose teeth with Dr. Laconi and made a follow-up appointment for Dr. Laconi to look at the bridge on August 3, 2010.

On August 3, Dr. Laconi removed the bridge and discovered that the implant screws on two of the teeth were broken and needed to be replaced. Dr. Laconi said " I'll take care of this," and Hitchens responded " I think that's a good idea[.] [T]hey need to be fixed." (Tr. 31). Dr. Laconi and his office manager told Hitchens that they would not be able to determine the cost of the repairs until they received a bill for the replacement ...


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