COA looks to Illinois for guidance on admission of naprapath’s testimony


Marilyn Odendahl for

In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that a naprapath licensed in Illinois could testify about a woman’s injuries following a slip and fall.

Barbara Banske of Lansing, Illinois, was awarded $243,000 in damages by a Lake County jury after she slipped on a floor mat and fell while visiting Walnut Creek Nursery, d/b/a/ Alsip Home & Nursery in St. John, Indiana. She received treatment for her injuries from Laura Grice, a naprapath licensed in Illinois.

At trial, Alsip filed a motion in limine requesting the exclusion of Grice’s testimony because she was not qualified to testify. At a pre-trial conference, Lake Superior Judge John Sedia denied the motion but limited her testimony to the confines of her particular discipline. Naprapathy is a branch of alternative medicine that focuses on the evaluation and specialized treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions.

Sedia later recused himself and the case was transferred to Lake Superior Judge John Pera. Alsip again objected to Grice’s testimony but Pera reiterated Sedia’s ruling that Grice could testify within her qualifications.

After the verdict, Alsip appealed on the grounds the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the naprapath’s testimony at trial. The nursery argued Grice was not qualified to be an expert in the case since she was not a medical doctor or chiropractor licensed in Indiana.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in Walnut Creek Nursey, Inc., d/b/a/ Alsip Home & Nursey v. Barbara Banske, 45A05-1406-CT-256.

Since Indiana does not license naprapaths, the Court of Appeals turned to Illinois for understanding.

Applying the rationale used in Kyowski v. Burns, 388 N.E.2d 770 (Ill. App. Ct. 1979), the Court of Appeals concluded Grice’s testimony about her treatment of Banske’s injuries was sufficiently connected to her accident and, therefore, the trial court did not err by admitting Grice’s testimony.