Full-term fetus not a “child” under Indiana’s child wrongful death statute

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Savannah Linley Ann Nelson Ramirez (“S.R.”), by her father, Stephen Ramirez (“Ramirez”), appeals the trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of James A. Wilson (“Wilson”) and Suzy-Q Trucking, LLC (collectively, “the Appellees”) upon a claim under Indiana’s child wrongful death statute, Indiana Code Section 34-23-2-1 (“the statute”). On appeal, Ramirez raises two issues:

I. Whether the trial court erroneously granted partial summary judgment upon a determination that a full-term fetus is not a “child” under the statute; and

II. Whether the statute, as interpreted by our Supreme Court in Bolin v. Wingert, 764 N.E.2d 201 (Ind. 2002), violates the privileges and immunities clause of the Indiana Constitution.

Conclusion (slip op. at 7):  Inasmuch as there exist no genuine issues of material fact, and the Appellees are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the claim under Indiana’s child wrongful death statute, the trial court properly granted partial summary judgment. Affirmed.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 5, 7):  Only a child “born alive” fits the definition of “child” under the child wrongful death statute . . . To the extent that it may be said that Ramirez articulates and supports an equal privileges challenge, this Court has previously rejected such a constitutional claim . . . we cannot disregard supreme court precedent and purport to overrule indirectly on constitutional grounds.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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