Joann G. Sartain, by and through her attorney-in-fact, Cindy Harding, Appellant-Plaintiff,
Trilogy Healthcare of Hamilton II, LLC d/b/a Prairie Lakes Health Campus, Appellee-Defendant
from the Hamilton Superior Court, The Honorable William J.
Hughes, Judge, Trial Court Cause No. 29D03-1511-PL-9242
Attorneys for Appellant H. Kennard Bennett Sara M. McClammer
Bennett & McClammer Indianapolis, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee Christopher D. Simpkins Thomas D.
Perkins Stephanie L. Grass Mackenzie E. Skalski Paganelli Law
Group Indianapolis, Indiana.
VAIDIK, CHIEF JUDGE.
Joann Sartain filed a four-count complaint against Trilogy
Healthcare of Hamilton II, LLC d/b/a Prairie Lakes Health
Campus ("Prairie Lakes"). Prairie Lakes moved to
dismiss Counts I and III, which the trial court granted. The
parties continued to litigate Counts II and IV but eventually
filed a stipulation to dismiss the case "in its
entirety." Sartain now seeks to appeal the dismissal of
Counts I and III. Prairie Lakes argues that the appeal must
be dismissed. We agree. Because Sartain explicitly stipulated
to the dismissal of the case in its entirety, there was no
final judgment, and we lack jurisdiction. We therefore
dismiss the appeal.
and Procedural History
In November 2015, Sartain, by and through her daughter and
attorney-in-fact, Cindy Harding, filed a lawsuit against
Prairie Lakes, a nursing facility in Noblesville. Sartain
suffers from dementia and resided at Prairie Lakes from
February 2012 until February 2014, when Prairie Lakes
discharged her to a hospital. Sartain's complaint made
four claims: Count I, Negligence - Improper Discharge; Count
II, Negligence - Substandard Care; Count III, Abuse of
Process; and Count IV, Breach of Contract.
Prairie Lakes moved to dismiss Counts I and III, claiming
that Sartain had failed to exhaust her administrative
remedies. The trial court granted that motion in May 2016.
The trial court certified its order for interlocutory appeal,
but this Court declined jurisdiction.
Litigation continued on Counts II and IV until June 2019,
when the parties filed a Stipulation of Dismissal. The
stipulation provided that the parties, "pursuant to Rule
41(A)(1)(b) of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure,
stipulate and agree to the dismissal of the above-referenced
cause of action, in its entirety, each party to bear their
own attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses."
Appellee's App. Vol. II p. 5. The parties also submitted
a proposed Order of Dismissal, which provided:
The Court, being duly advised in the premises and having
reviewed the parties' Stipulation of Dismissal, now
ORDERS that the above-referenced cause of action is hereby
dismissed, with each party bearing their own attorney's
fees, costs, and expenses.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that
Plaintiff's cause of action against Defendant is hereby
dismissed in its entirety.
App. Vol. II p. 146. The trial court signed the order.
Three weeks later, Sartain filed a notice of appeal with this
Court. She indicated that she is appealing the May 2016 order
dismissing Counts I and III and that the "Basis for
Appellate Jurisdiction" is "Appeal from a Final
Judgment, as defined by Appellate Rule 2(H) and 9(I)."
Appellee's App. Vol. II p. 3. Prairie Lakes moved to
dismiss the appeal, arguing that the trial court never issued
a final judgment and that therefore this Court ...