`

Man still fighting dismissal of bar exam suit

March 3, 2011

The man who sued the Indiana Supreme Court and state Board of Law Examiners because he wants to take the bar exam without going to law school wants a federal judge to reopen his case, arguing that he has no other legal recourse available and the court’s refusal to allow relief is contrary to established precedent.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has dismissed the federal suit with prejudice, but plaintiff Clarence K. Carter filed a request this week that it be reopened. His case centers on claims that state justices and the BLE have violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection to sit for the bar exam in Indiana, even though he hasn’t attended law school. Administrative Rule 13 doesn’t allow for that, and Carter alleges the requirement arbitrarily excludes him from the chance to qualify to practice law in this state as a result of law school admittance denials. The case is Carter v. Chief Justice and Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, et al., No. 1:10-CV-0328.

Judge Pratt had dismissed the case nearly two months ago for failure to state a claim that warrants relief, but Carter raised questions about whether that dismissal was with or without prejudice. The court’s Rule 41 dictates that a dismissal is with prejudice unless the court specifies otherwise, but regardless of that rule Carter alleges that “extraordinary circumstances” exist in this case and that requires the judge to re-open his suit. Judge Pratt had also denied other motions he filed in February.

Specifically, Carter alleges the court’s basis for denying a request for relief is in direct conflict with the practice and conformity of the 7th Circuit. He cites Chaundhry v. Nucor Steel-Indiana, 546 F. 3d 832 (7th Cir. 2008), which held that “terminating a case on the same day the court grants a motion to dismiss a complaint is somewhat unorthodox.” That denied him the right to amend his complaint, Carter says. He also alleges the District Court incorrectly calculated days for timely filings. The previous judgments should be vacated and the case opened again so that he can amend his complaint, his new motion states.

No appeals have been filed as of today in this case with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the court docket.

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Michael Hoskins