Last UpdatedTUE., MARCH 31, 2015 - 4:05 PM

A lifetime of service

Imagine reviewing your bosses’ expense claims and finding something that raises red flags. Now imagine it’s your job to go to your bosses and reject their claims.
Incidentally, your bosses are judges. And there are 15 of them. You’ve just imagined one of the routine tasks of veteran Indiana Court of Appeals administrator Steve Lancaster. If you can negotiate this task and dozens of others for the court’s judges and 18 administrative staff members, you may be the person to take Lancaster’s place.More.

Federal court rejects Dearborn judges' immunity defense

Marilyn Odendahl
A deaf man’s discrimination lawsuit against three judges in Dearborn County can proceed according to a March 30 ruling in federal court.More.

COA reverses ruling in favor of couple who kept alpacas in residential area

Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a Lake County court erred when it denied the county’s request for an injunction to prevent a couple from keeping alpacas on their property to raise for business purposes.More.

SCOTUS sides with Idaho in Medicaid pay dispute

Private health care providers cannot sue to force states to raise their Medicaid reimbursement rates to keep up with rising medical costs, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Tuesday.More.

In This Issue

March 25-April 7, 2015
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The latest national law school rankings have been released, and many are once again left wondering how these numbers are reached. Read how Indiana's ranked law schools fared this year. After several decades of service, COA administrator Steve Lancaster is retiring. He leave big shoes to fill, and an opportunity for the right person. A new professional incubator program is ready to welcome a recent law graduate interested in a career as a solo practitioner.

Top Stories

Indiana schools rise and fall in recent national law school rankings

For law schools not occupying the front seats in the U.S. News & World Report’s national ranking, this year’s release of the annual “how prestigious is my school” evaluation brought another twist to the rollercoaster ride the assessment has come to resemble.More.

A lifetime of service

Imagine reviewing your bosses’ expense claims and finding something that raises red flags. Now imagine it’s your job to go to your bosses and reject their claims.
Incidentally, your bosses are judges. And there are 15 of them. You’ve just imagined one of the routine tasks of veteran Indiana Court of Appeals administrator Steve Lancaster. If you can negotiate this task and dozens of others for the court’s judges and 18 administrative staff members, you may be the person to take Lancaster’s place.More.

Indianapolis-based incubator program is designed to launch solo practices

Two legal organizations are partnering with Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law to create an incubator – a program that provides the infrastructure and overhead to allow a newly admitted lawyer to focus on establishing a solo practice.More.

25-year-old Evansville courtesy code reminds lawyers how to behave

The Evansville Bar Association’s Professional Courtesy Code started with attorney Edward Johnson sitting at his desk and putting on paper the way attorneys should behave when practicing law.More.

Commemorating a legal legacy

In his hometown of Evansville where he is known to friends and colleagues as “Randy,” retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard is being recognized in a way that members of the legal community say will appropriately honor his legacy. Money from private donors and legal organizations is being put toward two commemorations. The first is a plaque noting Shepard’s contributions to Indiana that will hang outside the Randall T. Shepard Courtroom in the historic Vanderburgh County Courthouse. The second is a lecture series which will bring nationally known lawyers and legal scholars to Evansville to talk about law and leadership.More.

Aiding Conour victims ‘The right thing to do’

The Indiana State Bar Association’s announcement that it will distribute $100,000 among 24 victims of former attorney and convicted fraudster William Conour is a modest but meaningful gesture from the legal community, attorneys involved with the decision say.More.

Justices hear textbook case of errors in evidence

A man who stabbed his son-in-law and was convicted of battery with a deadly weapon argues trial court errors prevented him from presenting evidence that he acted in self-defense. The appellant claims the victim was the first to strike, whacking him with a 2-by-4 piece of lumber.More.


Workplace equality: Employers must be of aware court-ordered requirements

The advice labor and employment attorneys provide companies is changing in light of recent court decisions on Indiana’s laws governing same-sex marriage, and it may change again when the Supreme Court of the United States rules on the issue.More.

Focus: The transgender employees: guidance for employers

With the increased visibility of transgender people in the media, you’ve probably heard about Jazz Jennings, the 14-year-old activist who recently landed a show on TLC which will feature her family and how she deals with typical teen drama as a transgender individual. Or, you’ve spent a Saturday binge watching the Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black,” a show staring Laverne Cox, a transgender actress and LGBT advocate, who is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. It is refreshing to see trans people in the media as it reflects our growth and acceptance as a society for those who have been historically mistreated and underrepresented.More.


Protecting Your Practice: Importance of informing your malpractice insurer early

Lawyers are humans, too. We make mistakes. Because mistakes happen, we protect ourselves from potential claims and suits by investing in malpractice insurance. But unless you read your policy closely and comply with its provisions, you run the risk of being denied coverage and having to pay the entire cost of an expensive mistake. Here are some tips to help you avoid finding yourself in that predicament.More.

Inside the Criminal Case: The admissibility of Robert Durst’s confession

If we had told you three weeks ago that a man walked into the bathroom with a live microphone and did some things he would live to regret, you would have probably thought we were referring to a scene from “The Naked Gun” movie. By now, however, you know that we are referring to the statements suspected murderer Robert Durst made while “mic’d up” for an HBO documentary.More.

Finney: Simple tips to improve your Google searches

Do you get frustrated by the vast number of results you have to fumble through to find the needle in the haystack of Google search results? Whether it is finding a specific document, research on a certain topic, or an attempt to locate a person, the Information Age has generated a childlike impatience when searching.More.

Federal Bar Update: Recent federal opinions address recurring discovery issues

In recent months several opinions from Indiana federal judges have addressed recurring issues in discovery.More.

Hammerle On…'Chappie' and 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Bob Hammerle says “Chappie” was "everything that I didn’t think it would be."More.

DTCI: What exactly does it mean to be a ‘Hoosier lawyer?’ defines the word Hoosier as follows: 1) a native or inhabitant of Indiana (used as a nickname). 2) (usually lowercase) any awkward, unsophisticated person, especially a rustic.More.

In Brief

Judge who oversaw troubled Clark County drug court finished

A former Clark Superior judge who oversaw the southern Indiana county’s drug court and left the bench amid allegations of jailing participants without due process will never serve as an Indiana judge again.More.

Ex-attorney accused of stealing child's insurance settlement

A northern Indiana man and former attorney faces additional theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $612,000 from an insurance settlement awarded to an injured child.More.

Supreme Court seeks comments on fee sharing, small claims rule changes

The Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure wants to know what attorneys think about proposed rule amendments affecting fee sharing by attorneys and change of judge procedures in small claims cases.More.

At odds with Google, US seeks new rule on computer access

The Justice Department is at odds with Google and privacy groups over the government's push to make it easier to locate and hack into computers in criminal investigations, a simmering conflict with constitutional and policy implications.More.

Special Sections

Indiana Court Decisions - 3/25/15

Read recent Indiana appellate decisions.More.

Breach of employment contract/intentional tort

Bradley Scott Montgomery v. Danville Community School CorporationMore.

On The Move

On the Move - 3/25/15

Read who's recently been promoted, joined a new firm or been appointed to a board.More.

Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary Actions: 3/25/15

Read about a recent suspension issued by the Indiana Supreme Court.More.

Bar Associations

Trimble: ‘To Be or Not to Be…Connected 24/7’

I woke up this morning and did what most people now do…I grabbed my smart phone and scanned my email inbox for overnight news. I saw immediately that a client had written me at 2:36 a.m. to respond to an email that I had written at 5:45 p.m. the day before. I responded back to him at 5:30 a.m.More.

IndyBar: The Last of the Firsts: Feeding the Pipeline through the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair

In a February issue of Indiana Lawyer, the Marion County Bar Association (MCBA) and Indianapolis Bar Association paid collaborative tribute to our local African-American trailblazers in honor of Black History Month. In reading this “Celebration of Trailblazers,” I was struck by the relative youth of our central Indiana legal pioneers, many of whom I have had the recent privilege of working alongside as either a judicial clerk, law firm associate or board member of the MCBA. As this “Celebration of Trailblazers” made clear, a good number of our local firsts have been achieved since the turn of the millennium.More.

IndyBar: Bench Bar Just Got Better: Registration Now Open!

Call it Bench Bar 2.0: the event IndyBar members have grown to love over the last 20 years is back and better than ever, with nationally known speakers and a rejuvenated format featuring quick-hitting, high-impact TEDTalk style sessions on fresh, thought-provoking topics.More.

IndyBar: Work Hard AND Play Hard with the Solo/Small Firm Section

The Indianapolis Bar Association Solo/Small Firm Practice Section would like to invite everyone to our upcoming CLE and Social on April 20, 2015.More.

IndyBar: Intellectual Property Section Patent Bar Scholarships Recipients Announced

The Indianapolis Bar Association Intellectual Property Section is pleased to award its 2015 Patent Bar Scholarships to Prianka Ghanta and Kevin Oschman of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.More.

IndyBar: Don’t Miss Out on Free CLE Fridays at the IndyBar

Get free CLE with your IndyBar membership!More.

IndyBar: Volunteer Opportunity: ‘The Great Indy Cleanup’

IndyBar volunteers rolled up their sleeves to paint a mural in Fountain Square in spring 2014. Don’t miss your chance to make a difference this year!More.

IndyBar: Around the Bar

See photos from the March 18 Lawyer to Business event!More.

IndyBar Frontlines 3/25/15

Read news from around the IndyBar!More.

Online Extra: Judicial Roundtable 2014

When Loretta Rush was named chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court in August, Indiana hit a milestone. For the first time, all of our state's appellate courts were being led by women. Indiana Lawyer recently invited Rush, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, Indiana Tax Judge Martha Wentworth and Chief Judge Robyn Moberly of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana's Bankruptcy Court to discuss their career paths as well as opportunities and challenges today's courts and lawyers face.More.
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Indiana makes gains in permanent placement

The state sees improvement, but aims to do better.More.

Views shift on use of executions

What if 1976 hadn’t played out the way it did, and some of the jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court had held the view of capital punishment at that juncture that they did at the end of their judicial careers? The death penalty may never have been reinstated.More.

What's next for Indiana's death penalty?

Unlike other states, Indiana has not abolished or suspended use of executions.More.

State death penalty cases averaged 17 years

When the moment of death finally arrives, it ends what may be described as a long legal journey to justice within the capital punishment system.More.

Balancing philosophical with practical concerns regarding death penalty

Indiana Lawyer takes an in-depth look at the death penalty in the "Cost of Justice" series.More.
Juvenile Justice Juvenile Justice


A last-minute change to a bill during the 2009 special session has stripped judges of their discretion regarding juvenile placements out of state by requiring them to get permission from the Department of Child Services. All three branches are reacting.


Escaping execution

Exoneree joins statewide campaign calling for a death-penalty moratorium.More.

Reforms urged to prevent mistakes

Indiana explores what revisions to make to its criminal justice system.More.

Aiming for exoneration

Inmate awaits court hearingMore.

CJ: Most players in appeals acting responsibly

The Indiana chief justice said in an order that he would "smack down" judicial overreaching or overspending.More.

Bose lays off lawyers

Cuts are state's first announced publiclyMore.

Lawyer lands on feet

Attorney's job loss leads to his own legal consulting businessMore.

Mergers: Are we done yet?

2008 could be record year for law firm consolidationMore.

Tough times drive change

Attorneys see evolving legal work caused by economic woesMore.

System delivers injustice

Exonerated face new, old legal hurdles after release.More.

Counties must pay for juvenile facilities

Indiana counties are responsible to pay a portion of costs to operate juvenile detention facilities.More.

What's next for Indiana's juvenile system?

Indiana lags in statewide reform, but builds on localized successes.More.

Detaining questions

Funding of youth detention, alternatives draws concern.More.

State slow to achieve juvenile justice reforms

Local successes exist; systematic changes lag.More.
Juvenile Justice Juvenile Justice

Improving a child's access to counsel

A proposed draft rule would change waiver procedures in the juvenile justice system.More.

Early intervention for juveniles

A new law, along with pilot programs, encourage alternatives to keep kids out of courts.More.

The evolution of capital punishment

The Indiana Lawyer takes a historical look at how the death penalty system has evolved during the past 40 years and how Indiana has amended its practices and procedures through the decades.More.

Enduring legal process doesn't change parents' desire for justice

For 11 years, Dale and Connie Sutton’s lives as parents have been about ensuring what they see as justice for their murdered daughter.


Mental aspect of capital cases can be challenging

When it comes to tallying the total price of capital punishment, the cost of those cases for the legal community is more than just expansive legalese and court procedures that span a decade or two.More.

Prosecutors: money doesn't trump other factors when considering death penalty

At a time when capital punishment requests are down and some state officials are questioning the cost and overall effectiveness of seeking a death sentence, the issue of what it’s worth to go after this ultimate punishment is getting more scrutiny in Indiana and nationwide. Read more in Indiana Lawyer's in-depth look at the death penalty and the cost of justice.More.

Recent changes impact state justice system

National and state advocates pushing for wrongful conviction reforms judged that Indiana was behind other jurisdictions in strengthening its justice system, but they emphasized that ongoing discussions were a good starting point for the Hoosier legal community.More.

Clinic argues for man's innocence

the Indiana Supreme Court is considering whether to accept a post-conviction case on an issue some say is an important question of law relating to wrongful convictions.More.

Rising number of exonerees reflects flaws in justice system

Convicts are turning to methods that have freed others who were wrongfully convicted, as well as new issues that continue surfacing in the nation's court system.More.

Teaming up for change

National, local experts meet in Indiana to discuss juvenile justice.More.

Indiana: Better economic climate

State's legal community successfully rising to recession-related challengesMore.

Lawyers challenge imbalance of power

Budget statute affected juvenile codes and gives the Department of Child Services oversight of judicial decision-making.More.

Attorneys squeezing savings

Bar associations offer discounts, cost-cutting options for legal communityMore.

Money woes 'going to get worse'

County courts, prosecutors, public defenders face tight budgetsMore.

Indiana's legal aid in trouble?

3 legal aid providers discuss the economy's effectsMore.

After exoneration

Wrongfully convicted Hoosier settles federal suit for $4.5 million.More.

Teens share stories about juvenile justice experience

Two Elkhart County teens say it took incarceration to teach them a lesson.More.

Marion County a model for juvenile detention reforms

Detention alternatives, Initial Hearing Court draw national praise.More.

'Out of the court's hands'

Lake County teen recognizes she is responsible for future in juvenile system.More.

Breach of employment contract/intentional tort
Bradley Scott Montgomery v. Danville Community School Corporation



Personal injury vehicle accident
Kristie Malnar v. Ruth Black



Motorcycle Accident
Garrett Minniear v. Chase King d/b/a King Masonry LLC


More Trial Reports


How do managing partners manage their social media?

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If you are a managing partner, then you most likely do, although your online presence may be begrudgingly, depending on your age.More.


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Opinions March 31, 2015

Indiana Court of Appeals
Berthal O. Williams and Patricia Williams v. The Indiana Rail Road Company
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Rail Road Company on the Williamses’ attempt to enforce a 1901 indenture regarding a dam on their property. Concludes the indenture was a covenant running with the land, that the terms set forth in the indenture required IRR to maintain the dam and the water level at a specific depth, and that it contained a covenant, perpetual in nature, that did not cease upon a prior breach. Remands for further proceedings.More.
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  1. Sociologist of religion Peter Berger once said that the US is a “nation of Indians ruled by Swedes.” He meant an irreligious elite ruling a religious people, as that Sweden is the world’s least religious country and India the most religious. The idea is that American social elites tend to be much less religious than just about everyone else in the country. If this is true, it helps explain the controversy raking Indiana over Hollywood, San Fran, NYC, academia and downtown Indy hot coals. Nevermind logic, nevermind it is just the 1993 fed bill did, forget the Founders, abandon of historic dedication to religious liberty. The Swedes rule. You cannot argue with elitists. They have the power, they will use the power, sit down and shut up or feel the power. I know firsthand, having been dealt blows from the elite's high and mighty hands often as a mere religious plebe.

  2. I need helping gaining custody of my 5 and 1 year old from my alcoholic girlfriend. This should be an easy case for any lawyer to win... I've just never had the courage to take her that far. She has a record of public intox and other things. She has no job and no where to live othe than with me. But after 5 years of trying to help her with her bad habit, she has put our kids in danger by driving after drinking with them... She got detained yesterday and the police chief released my kids to me from the police station. I live paycheck to paycheck and Im under alot of stress dealing with this situation. Can anyone please help?

  3. The more a state tries to force people to associate, who don't like each other and simply want to lead separate lives, the more that state invalidates itself....... This conflict has shown clearly that the advocates of "tolerance" are themselves intolerant, the advocates of "diversity" intend to inflict themselves on an unwilling majority by force if necessary, until that people complies and relents and allows itself to be made homogenous with the politically correct preferences of the diversity-lobbies. Let's clearly understand, this is force versus force and democracy has nothing to do with this. Democracy is a false god in the first place, even if it is a valid ideal for politics, but it is becoming ever more just an empty slogan that just suckers a bunch of cattle into paying their taxes and volunteering for stupid wars.

  4. I would like to discuss a commercial litigation case. If you handle such cases, respond for more details.

  5. Great analysis, Elizabeth. Thank you for demonstrating that abortion leads, in logic and acceptance of practice, directly to infanticide. Women of the world unite, you have only your offspring to lose!