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Justices to hear 2 cases Thursday

January 1, 2007
The Indiana Supreme Court will consider two cases Thursday morning. One looks at the line between estate plans and wills, while the other involves a motorist's lawsuit against a county for not removing a tree in the road after a storm.

Justices will first hear arguments at 9 a.m. in the case In re Guardianship of E.N., Adult, which comes out of the Washington Circuit Court. The trial court approved an estate plan submitted by a protected person's adult children in their capacity as co-guardians, even though that plan effectively nullified a previous will that specifically disinherited the children. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in August.

The second arguments at 9:45 a.m. are in Marvin Hochstetler v. Elkhart County Highway Department, Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, and Elkhart County Commissioners, involving a motorist 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.
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