from the Floyd Circuit Court The Honorable John Terrence
Cody, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 22C01-1804-CT-527
Attorney for Appellant Kenneth A. Ewing Carmel, Indiana
Attorney for Appellee Robert L. Barlow, II Madison, Indiana
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Defendant, Madison Consolidated Schools (Madison),
appeals the trial court's denial of its motion for
summary judgment in favor of Appellee-Plaintiff, Trisha D.
Thurston (Thurston), concluding that Madison is estopped from
asserting that Thurston failed to comply with the notice
requirements of the Indiana Tort Claims Act (ITCA).
Madison presents two issues for our review, which we
consolidate and restate as the following single issue:
Whether genuine issues of material fact exist with respect to
Thurston's estoppel argument which preclude the grant of
summary judgment to Madison.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On September 5, 2014, sixteen-year-old Thurston was a
passenger in a school bus operated by Madison when the school
bus struck a guardrail and collided with another vehicle on
Interstate 64 in Floyd County, Indiana. As a result of the
collision, Thurston suffered severe physical injuries and
incurred physical and mental pain.
Subsequent to the accident, Jacqueline Thurston (Jacqueline),
Thurston's mother, was contacted by Madison's
insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (Liberty Mutual).
In the months following this initial contact, Jacqueline had
multiple communications with representatives of Liberty
Mutual. Liberty Mutual's representatives recommended
"waiting until [Thurston's] treatment had been
completed before discussing a settlement of her claim."
(Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 28). They instructed
Jacqueline "repeatedly that her claim needed to be
resolved by April 17, 2018 [but] at no time did any of
[Liberty Mutual's] representatives advise [her] that a
Tort Claim Notice needed to be filed  by October 14,
2016." (Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 28). Instead,
Jacqueline was told that Thurston's claim had "to be
settled or put into litigation by 4-17-2018 or she will be
barred from recovery. Since she was a minor at the time of
the bus accident, she ha[d] 2 years plus her 18th
birthday to resolve her claim." (Appellant's App.
Vol. II, p. 28). By email dated April 11, 2018, a
representative of Liberty Mutual advised Jacqueline
We are not going to have all the medical in by the statute.
We've received quite a bit but not everything. [Thurston]
is getting ready to have her 20th birthday. You
are going to need to retain counsel to [protect] the statute
of limitations. Obviously this doesn't mean we are not
willing to get in the remaining medical and still attempt to
resolve this short of further litigation but you have ...