Despite out-of-court agreement, COA upholds motion to strike

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The Indiana Court of Appeals encourages collegiality among attorneys when it comes to resolving issues outside of court, but it had to uphold the striking of documents because they were not timely filed with the trial court. The parties’ attorneys agreed to an extension of time to reply outside of court, but the trial court had no choice but to not allow the late reply.

In Mary Booher, et al. v. Sheeram, LLC, No. 20A03-1005-CT-338, Mary and Steve Booher sued Hampton Inn of Elkhart after Mary slipped in a bathtub and injured herself. The hotel had received earlier complaints that the tubs were slippery and coated the tubs with a non-skid surface, but that didn’t cover the entire bottom of the tubs. The coating did comply with safety standards.

The Boohers filed a negligence suit and requested through the courts and received two extensions of times to reply to Hampton Inn’s motion for summary judgment. After their second extension, their deadline to reply was Nov. 7, 2008.

But the Boohers’ expert needed more time to get his report together and was going to be out of the country until Nov. 7. The Boohers’ attorney also was preparing for major surgery on Oct. 24 and would be away for two weeks. The attorney’s legal assistant spoke with Hampton Inn’s attorney, who agreed to a three-week extension, but the Boohers never filed a formal request for an extension with the trial court. They submitted their material designation of facts and other documents Nov. 26.

Hampton Inn then filed a motion to strike, which the trial court granted based on Trial Rule 56. It later granted summary judgment for Hampton Inn.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the motion to strike based on the bright line rule set forth by the Indiana Supreme Court, which says a trial court “may exercise discretion and alter time limits under 56(I) only if the nonmoving party has responded or sought an extension within thirty days from the date the moving party filed for summary judgment.”

Chief Judge John Baker wrote that the appellate court encourages collegiality to solve issues outside of the courtroom, but in circumstances as what occurred in the instant case, parties must still seek formal relief directly from the trial court.

“We acknowledge, as did the trial court, that the Boohers’ attorney was working under extraordinarily difficult circumstances—an expert who was out of the country and unable to complete his report in a timely fashion together with a major surgery endured by counsel certainly constituted cause to extend the deadline by three more weeks,” he wrote. “Our proverbial hands are tied, however, inasmuch as our Supreme Court has made it clear that the trial court simply had no discretion to accept the untimely filed documents, regardless of the circumstances.”

The Court of Appeals also affirmed summary judgment for Hampton Inn because the Boohers failed to show Hampton Inn breached its duty to them.


  • The Defense Lawyer's Fraudulent Conduct Rewarded
    My issue with this ruling is that the trial court struck the filing as a result of defense counsel filing a Motion to Strike after the agreement. Doing so rewards fraudulent conduct by an officer of the court. Had the court struck the filing "sui sponte", I would have no issue with the ruling.

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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues