ILNews

Leadership in Law 2013: Ronald E. Elberger

Partner, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Indianapolis American University Law School

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ron-elberger02-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Ronald E. Elberger is one of the engines that drives his firm’s litigation, entertainment and sports, and professional responsibility practice areas. Over the years, he has served as attorney for David Letterman, as vice president and general counsel of Emmis Broadcasting Corp., and as counsel for many local television news employees.

His office houses several works of art dedicated to his children Seth and Becca, whose ongoing support, along with that of his wife, he credits as the force that got him where he is today. Ron is very active in the community, including the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He was instrumental in the building of several facilities on the school’s campus, including two independent living houses for older students.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Have fun but work hard and diligently while adhering to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

You often represent famous people. What famous person would you most like to meet?
“John Doe,” as being “famous” does not create any desire to meet with someone merely because he or she bears the label.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
The theme from “Rocky.”

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
I thought I have been on such a sabbatical for many years.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
The one that is then unmet. We establish funds and encourage support for specific causes to address issues and problems that have been overlooked.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Healing others.

In life or law, what bugs you?
A liar.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
Tax. Need I say more?

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Abe Fortas, former associate justice of SCOTUS, to continue our numerous and varied discussions about the law and our society from which I learned much.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
I don’t know, but if such existed, it should be at the Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue by 54th Street in NYC.

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
I tend to avoid the circus of such programming as I don’t believe the shows depict reality but, rather, a fanciful writer’s embellishment geared toward generating ratings and revenue.

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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