ILNews

Justices deny previously granted transfer

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Despite a previous decision to accept a case, the Indiana Supreme Court has decided to revoke its previous order to consider whether Indiana or Illinois law should apply to a dram shop suit.

Now, a Court of Appeals decision from March will stand, meaning Indiana law applies to the case.

Justices this week vacated its July decision to accept transfer in Rebecca Shaw, Individually, and for the Estate of Kayla Nichole Hughes, and Stephen Hughes v. LDC Enterprises d/b/a I&I Steakhouse, et al., in which the court heard arguments Sept. 13.

During arguments, justices expressed concern about issuing injunctive relief to force the establishment to close or to delve into jurisdictional issues with other states.

The Court of Appeals had reversed a lower court decision from Fountain County, holding that Indiana law should apply to a complaint against a steakhouse owner in Illinois for an accident that happened in Indiana and resulted in the death of a teenager.

The owner moved to dismiss the counts on grounds that Illinois law should control the disposition of the action, and the trial court granted the motion. On appeal, the appellate court ruled, "The last event necessary to make LDC liable for its alleged wrong took place in Indiana with Kayla's death, and application of Illinois law would leave (mother Rebecca) Shaw without a remedy. The substantive law of Indiana therefore applies."

Illinois dram shop law is one of the strictest in the nation, allowing plaintiffs to essentially recover if they can prove the sale happened and some type of connection between the furnishing, intoxication, and injury - not knowledge of intoxication. But unlike Indiana, the neighboring state has no common law clause of action for injuries arising out of sale or gift of alcoholic beverages, and the legislature has restricted it to only a "person who is injured within this State."

This would leave the family without a remedy, as Kayla Hughes died in Indiana, and the court applied the principle of lex loci delicti in its decision - the last act necessary to make LDC liable for nuisance was the place of injury in Indiana, the appellate court ruled.The case now goes back to Fountain Circuit Judge Susan Orr Henderson for further proceedings.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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