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7th Circuit panel visits Indy law school

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A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel converged on the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis campus Tuesday to hear three appellate arguments in its first visit in more than a decade.

Trading in the Chicago courthouse for the law school's Wynne Courtroom, the three-judge panel of Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Michael Kanne from Lafayette, and Judge John D. Tinder from Indianapolis heard arguments in:

United States v. Ricky L. Fines and Leroy Miller, Nos. 08-1069, 08-1089, is a combined criminal sentencing case from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana's South Bend Division. Both defendants are appealing their federal firearms convictions and sentences, arguing on evidentiary and procedural issues, including whether Miller can be defined as a gun collector.

Jonathan S. McGlothan, M.D. v. Tracey and Eric Wallace, No. 07-4059, is a case that delves into expert testimony issues involving a LASIK eye surgery medical malpractice case from the Southern District of Indiana's Terre Haute Division. McGlothan wants the 7th Circuit to reverse the $678,793 jury award against him and dismiss the case.

Sondra J. Hansen and William R. Hansen, individually and on behalf of C.H. v. Board of Trustees of Hamilton Southeastern School Corp. and Dimitri B. Alano, No. 08-1205, a case from the Southern District of Indiana's Indianapolis Division, stems from a former high school band teacher's arrest and admittance in 2004 that he had sexual contact with a teenage female student in exchange for good grades. This federal suit eventually filed by the girl's parents alleges the school district was liable for Alano's criminal acts as they happened during his employment. The District Court granted summary judgment for the school corporation, and the attorneys argued about whether that was properly done and whether the judge lost jurisdiction of all state and other federal claims relating to Title IX.

The judges lobbed questions at the various attorneys standing at the podium, and Chief Judge Easterbrook interjected humor that drew laughs among the law school crowd, such as his opening comment about the medical malpractice jury award.

"A $700,000 award for loss of night vision seems high ... for that, you could just hire a chauffer," he said.

The court periodically visits different law schools to hear arguments. Law school spokeswoman Elizabeth Allington said this is the first time the federal appellate court has come here since March 9, 1994.

More than 100 students and faculty attended; after 90 minutes of arguments about half of the observers remained for a question-and-answer session where the judges answered general questions about their court and positions. Questions ranged from the balance between briefs and in-person arguments, the most difficult part of the judges' jobs, how they work their law clerks, and how they've felt about being reversed by the nation's highest court.

The judges told the audience that 55 percent of its final work comes in the form of written opinions and 45 percent in unprecedential orders, and that the court strives to issue a decision within two or three months of an argument but that it can range anywhere from a week to more than a year.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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