ILNews

Court: Evidence needed to enforce CID

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Attorney General must provide at least a verified petition to a court to enforce a civil investigative demand and show the demand is proper, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

In Nu-Sash of Indianapolis, Inc. d/b/a McKee Sunroom Designs v. Steve Carter, Indiana Attorney General, and Liberty Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Booster Club Productions, No. 49S02-0801-CV-16, Nu-Sash appealed a trial court order that the company respond within 10 days to a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by Attorney General Steve Carter regarding consumer complaints. At the hearing on the petition, the attorney general did not present any evidence to show why the demand is proper under Indiana Code Sections 4-6-3-1 through 6. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court didn't abuse its discretion because the attorney general met the statutory requirements for issuing a CID.

When someone fails to respond to a CID issued by the attorney general for information relevant to an investigation, the attorney general can file an application for an order to enforce the CID. During the hearing, the attorney general has to demonstrate to the trial court that the demand to enforce the CID is proper.

In this case, the attorney general only presented an unsworn petition to show reason to enforce the CID. Even though the requirements of the other sections of the code were met, the attorney general has to establish only that there is an investigation and there are reasonable grounds that the person to whom the CID is directed has relevant information, Justice Theodore Boehm wrote. A demonstration can be a verified petition, affidavit, testimony, or other relevant evidence presented at a hearing.

"There is no allegation of abuse in this case, but history teaches that power can be and has been abused," he wrote. "Requiring the Attorney General to provide at least a verified petition to enforce affords all citizens some protection against 'fishing expeditions' or retaliatory or abusive CIDs that are unrelated to legitimate investigations, and imposes a mild deterrent to arbitrary use of government authority."
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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