Woman’s Case Against Dermatologist Dismissed for Not Being Timely Filed
In September of 2012, Elizabeth White visited Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson at Dermatology Associates, P.C., for laser hair removal on her face. Due to a reaction between the makeup White was wearing and the treatment, part of White’s face was burned and remained discolored thereafter. In 2013, White filed a complaint for medical negligence against the Providers directly with the trial court, seeking damages in an amount not greater than $15,000 for her injury. Thereafter, White sought to have that complaint thrown out so that she could file a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance. White successfully had her original complaint thrown out and filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance on November 18, 2014.
Dermatology Associates filed a motion for summary judgment alleging White failed to timely file her claim with the Department of Insurance. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment but allowed an appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. At the Court of Appeals level, White alleged that she deserved a statutory extension under Indiana Code sections 34-18-8-6(c) and 34-18-7-1(c) which permits an extension under certain circumstances. White argued that the extension should apply to her because she learned of new information relevant to her case.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to dismiss White’s complaint because she did not learn anything new about her case but rather learned that her case was worth more than the $15,000 that she sought initially. The Court majority stated that “White had every right to dismiss and refile her cause of action in order to seek additional damages, but under these facts, she needed to do so within the two-year statute of limitations.”