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Parsley v. MGA Family Group, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 16, 2018

Lillian Parsley, as the Guardian, Grandparent, and Next Friend of Robert Parsley, Deceased, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
MGA Family Group, Inc., H Properties LLP, Mark Snedeker, and Video Tech/Direct Maytag HAC, Appellees-Defendants.

          Appeal from the Dubois Superior Court. The Honorable Mark R. McConnell, Judge. Trial Court Cause No. 19D01-1610-CT-545

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Timothy F. Devereux Ladendorf Law Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES Thomas J. Jarzyniecki, Jr. Susan R. Shan Kightlinger & Gray, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana Crystal G. Rowe Kightlinger & Gray, LLP New Albany, Indiana Attorneys for MGA Family Group, Inc, and H Properties LLP

          SHARPNACK, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] After a fire took the lives of Lillian Parsley's daughter and grandson, she sought wrongful death damages. She brings this interlocutory appeal from the trial court's order that granted MGA Family Group, Inc., H Properties LLP, and Mark Snedeker's (collectively, "the Defendants") motion to dismiss the wrongful death action that Lillian initiated as to her grandson. We affirm.

         Issue

         [¶2] The issue Lillian presents for our review (consolidated and restated) is whether the trial court erred in granting the Defendants' motion to dismiss her wrongful death action as to her grandson.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] Linsey Parsley had given birth to her son, Robert, while she was a sophomore in high school. On November 26, 2014, Linsey, then twenty years old, and her three-year-old son Robert were living in a Jasper, Indiana apartment with Alex Snedeker. On that day, Linsey, Robert, and Alex died as the result of an apartment fire. Following the deaths, Linsey's mother, Lillian was appointed personal representative of Linsey's estate.

         [¶4] On October 21, 2016, Lillian brought an action against the Defendants to recover damages for Linsey's death, under the Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Statute, and for Robert's death under the Child Wrongful Death Statute[1](CWDS). Lillian brought the wrongful death claim as to Robert as his "Guardian, Grandparent and Next Friend." Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 17.

         [¶5] On December 14, 2016, the Defendants filed an Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss, claiming Lillian's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The motion alleged specifically that she lacked standing to pursue a claim for Robert under the CWDS because she was neither Robert's parent nor guardian at the time of his death. Lillian filed a response that included supplemental material.[2] Following a hearing, the trial court dismissed Lillian's wrongful death claim as to Robert.

         [¶6] Lillian filed a motion to reconsider, and the trial court denied her motion. Upon Lillian's request, the trial court certified the order for interlocutory appeal, and Lillian then sought leave to pursue a discretionary interlocutory appeal of the trial court's order. We granted her motion, and this appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         Motion to Strike

         [¶7] Initially, we must address MGA Family Group and H. Properties' motion to strike portions of Lillian's brief and appendix and portions of Appellee Mark Snedeker's appendix. MGA Family Group and H. Properties allege that the brief and appendices contain or refer to materials that are not part of the record for the motion to dismiss, i.e., an order from an unrelated case, pleadings that pertain to a separate motion filed by MGA Family Group and H. Properties for judgment on the pleadings, a Marion County Superior Court decision from an unrelated case, a deposition, "Pew Research" statistics, a lease ...


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