In the case of Roumbos v. Vazanellis and Thiros and Stracci, P.C., Roumbos was 85 and visiting her husband at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lake County in January 2011. She had visited her husband several times before. When she visited this time, her husband asked for a glass of water which she gave to him. After he drank the glass, Roumbos tried to return it to its original place when she tripped over some wires that resulted in severe injuries to her.
Roumbos hired a law firm to represent her in a negligence claim against the hospital, but the law firm failed to file her complaint within the relevant statute of limitations. She accordingly filed a complaint for legal malpractice against the firm. The firm moved for summary judgment and won. The trial court said that Roumbos did not meet the burden to show there was a genuine issue of fact as to her original negligence claim against the hospital.
The Indiana Court of Appeals noted that Roumbos had to prove a case within a case at trial. The Court said that this required that Roumbos not be better off than if the firm filed the complaint in time. The firm tried to argue that it would not have mattered anyways because the hospital did not violate their duty of care to Roumbos. When analyzing the fall, the Court found genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the landowner should have anticipated the harm despite the invitee’s knowledge of the danger. In order to be entitled to summary judgment, the firm needed to designate evidence that the hospital could not have reasonably anticipated the accident which the firm did not do. As a result, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the law firm was not entitled to summary judgment and reversed the decision of the trial court.
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