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7th Circuit issues U.S. Grand Prix ruling

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Race fans have a reason to watch the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today.

As the Indianapolis 500 weekend kicks off, the Circuit Court has issued a decision fitting the mood - one involving the notorious U.S. Grand Prix race in 2005. The unanimous decision today comes in Larry Bowers, Alan G. Symons, Carey Johnson, et al. v. Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, Formula One Administration Limited, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp., et al.

The ruling affirms a 2006 ruling from U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Baker in Indianapolis - she threw out the 10 class action suits that were consolidated into one action where fans sought punitive damages as well as compensatory damages for ticket costs, travel expenses and food.

Unhappy fans sued following the tire performance mishap two years ago, where all 14 cars running on Michelin tires withdrew from the race.

Judge Barker ruled that the fans had no basis for the lawsuit. "It's to be assumed that the Michelin teams made the decision they believed to be in their best competitive and professional interests, and in doing so, they owed no legal duty to let the preferences of the spectators trump their own good judgment," Judge Barker wrote.

In its 14-page ruling today, the three Circuit judges affirmed the dismissal of breach of contract and tortuous interference, promissory estoppel, and negligence claims.

"But while a six-car race under the Regulations may be less rich, interesting, or challenging than a 12-car race, it is not prohibited or nonsensical under the rules (like a soccer match between three teams or a basketball team getting a first down)," Circuit Judge Richard D. Cudahy wrote. "These rules cannot be interpreted to impose a 'minimum car' requirement. There is no reason to claim, as the plaintiffs in all seriousness do, that no race occurred."

He added that sports fans had to understand in this case that any number of events - such as dangerous track conditions, sudden illnesses, or an accident - could always prevent a driver from participating and that it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise.

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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