ILNews

Justices rule in favor of county

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Elkhart County is immune from losses resulting from temporary weather-related road conditions in 2001, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

The 4-1 decision came in Marvin Hochstetler v. Elkhart Co. Highway Dept., et al., 20S05-0703-CV-97, a case it heard arguments in May 10. The case involved a motorcycle driver, Hochstetler, who struck a fallen tree on a county road after a storm and sued the county departments and officials for negligence. The Elkhart Superior Court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, but the Court of Appeals reversed in October after concluding the material issues of fact remain as to whether the county is immune under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. That provides governmental defendants immunity from liability if the loss resulted from a temporary condition of a public thoroughfare resulting from weather.

However, the Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer and wrote that the condition was temporary and the county was therefore immune from these types of suits.

"There might well be a case in which weather-related conditions remained unintended for so long a period that it no longer qualified as 'temporary,' Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote. "This is not that case."

Justice Brent Dickson dissented, writing that genuine issues of fact remained "whether the hazard was temporary and whether its efficient cause was weather or the government's failure to monitor and maintain its roads with reasonable care."
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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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