FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A wrongful death lawsuit filed against an emergency room doctor elected as state senator will remain public, an Allen Superior Court judge ruled Monday.

The proceedings against Dr. Tyler Johnson, R-Leo-Cedarville, as well as Parkview Health and Professional Emergency Physicians will be delayed until a month after Indiana’s legislative session, however.

Johnson is being sued by the mother of a 20-year-old woman who was seen by Johnson at Parkview Regional Medical Center’s emergency room in 2018. The woman, identified as Esperanza Umana, presented serious symptoms for pneumonia, asthma and the flu, according to court testimony.

She was possibly septic, a condition that kills 60% of patients, her family’s legal team has argued.

Still, she was discharged from the hospital and collapsed in a pharmacy parking lot less than an hour later and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A medical review board consisting of three physicians later ruled that she did not receive proper medical care, court records said.

Attorneys for State Legislator Tyler Johnson appeared in court to ask for a delay in proceedings against him for medical malpractice.

Umana is survived by a son who is now 5 years old.

Johnson and his employer, Professional Emergency Physicians, had asked the judge to seal the records from public view last month on the grounds that certain “parties have publicized this lawsuit, needlessly and unfairly litigating this case in the public media,” according to court records.

Johnson also filed a motion asking that the proceedings against him be suspended because of legislative privileges afforded him as a state senator.

Judge Andrew S. Williams granted Johnson’s request that the proceedings be stopped until June 9, according to court records.

Williams did not buy an argument on why the lawsuit should be handled behind closed doors.

“Dr. Johnson and (Professional Emergency Physicians) failed to submit clear and convincing evidence in support of this assertion,” Williams wrote in an order, referring to allegations that the case was being litigated in the media.

“In fact, no evidence of the alleged statements made to the media have been offered or even recited in the pleadings,” Williams continued in his order.

Johnson also tried to argue that his status as a state senator should meet the requirements of a court’s ability to seal records regarding the lawsuit..

“Rather, one would expect the media, and the public, to have a greater interest in matters related to elected officials,” Williams wrote in court documents. “Again, there is no evidence, other than conclusory statements in the Petition, that there has been any abuse of the public’s unfettered access to the Court’s records.”

“At this stage, there simply are no extraordinary circumstances which would warrant limiting access to the Court’s records,” Williams wrote.

Jennifer Becerra, the woman who filed the lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, has sought a settlement from Johnson, his employer and Parkview in lieu of the medical review board ruling in her favor, which her attorneys said happens rarely in such cases.

Her attorneys have also claimed Johnson and the other defendants have slowed the legal proceedings with unnecessary delays, trying in vain to find experts who will testify on their behalf while dragging their feet on depositions, according to court documents.

“They’re always scrambling but they can’t find an expert in the whole universe,” Terri Kaiser Park, one of Becerra’s attorneys, said during a hearing last month.

With a cap on settlements at $1.6 million in Indiana, it’s a mystery why Parkview and the Professional Emergency Physicians, Inc., a separate entity from Parkview, haven’t settled the case, Park said during that hearing.

A hearing where Becerra’s attorneys were set to argue for summary judgement – essentially where they would’ve asked the judge to find in their favor without a jury so as to expedite a settlement – had been set for this month.

That has now been pushed back with Williams granting a delay until the end of the state’s legislative session.