Friday, October 19, 2012

Creasy v. Rusk case brief

Creasy v. Rusk (2000)
730 N.E.2d 659

Procedural History
•    On petition to transfer following reversal by the Indiana Court of Appeals of the Carroll Circuit Court (Indiana), plaintiff appealed the summary judgment granted in favor of defendant in suit for injuries suffered when plaintiff was kicked by defendant, an Alzheimer’s patient.

•    Plaintiff, a certified nursing assistant, sued defendant, an Alzheimer’s patient, for injuries she suffered when he kicked her while she was trying to put him to bed.

•    is a person with mental disabilities generally held to the same standard of care as that of a reasonable person under the same circumstances?

•    A person with mental disabilities is generally held to the same standard of care as that of a reasonable person under the same circumstances without regard to the alleged tort-feasor’s capacity to control or understand the consequences of his or her actions.

•    People with mental disabilities are commonly held liable for their intentional and negligent torts. No allowance is made for lack of intelligence, ignorance, excitability, or proneness to accident
•    These legislative developments (cited pg 118) reflect policies consistent with those supporting the Restatement rule generally accepted outside Indiana in that they reflect a determination that people with disabilities should be treated in the same way as non-disabled persons.
•    We observe that it is a matter of some irony that public policies favoring the opposite ends the institutionalization  (tort restatements)  and confinement on the one hand and community treatment and integration into the least restrictive environment on the other should nevertheless yield the same common law rule: that the general duty of care imposed on adults with mental disabilities is the same as that for adults without mental disabilities.
•    Public safety officials and caregivers are specifically hired to encounter and combat particular dangers, and by accepting such employment assume the risks associated with their respective occupations.

•    Judgment of the trial court was affirmed and summary judgment was granted in favor of defendant because the relationship between the parties and public policy considerations were such that defendant owed no duty of care to plaintiff.
Court’s Reasoning/Rationale/Policy
•  The  Court balances allowing liability for a MD person who can’t control himself when he hurts someone.  And not providing a liability to one who can’t control himself.  The court goes to the side of giving liability to the MD person.
•    People with MD should be treated the same as everyone else including negligence standards.  Except when the plaintiff is a caregiver where the duty of care is a one way street.

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