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Indiana justices deny 8 cases, plus associational standing appeal

March 26, 2012

The Indiana Supreme Court declined to take eight cases last week, and by a split vote the court also reversed a prior decision to hear an electric utility’s appeal based on an associational standing question.

In a transfer disposition order, the state’s highest court declined a total of nine cases, including Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp., et al. v. Save the Valley, et al., No. 49A02-1011-MI-1178, that had previously been granted transfer in February.

The Court of Appeals ruled on the case in August, finding that it had already ruled on an associational standing question six years ago in the same case and that the electric utility was trying to re-litigate that issue. The court declined to revisit the case, based on the law-of-the-case doctrine. Particularly, the intermediate appellate judges rejected IKEC claims that the state justices didn’t adequately consider a similar case pending at the time, even though the original Court of Appeals panel did address that issue and the Supreme Court denied transfer.

The Court of Appeals panel also dismissed arguments that the precedent wasn’t valid because the justices later issued K.S. v. State, 849 N.E.2d 538 (Ind. 2006), and the electric utility contended that voided the Save the Valley issue of associational standing. But after granting transfer earlier this year, a March 22 order from the Supreme Court says that the Court of Appeals decision from last year is reinstated.

Acting Chief Justice Brent Dickson signed the order and Justices Frank Sullivan and Robert Rucker concurred, although Justices Randall T. Shepard and Steven David voted to grant transfer.

The other cases denied transfer are: Outboard Boating Club of Evansville, Inc., and Small-Craft Boaters, Inc. v. Indiana State Department of Health, No. 82A01-1102-PL-52; The Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: D.H.H. & A.M.H., and Carrie Crawford v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, No. 71A03-1107-JT-322; Charles Lawrence, Sr. v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1105-CR-194; Jason B. Forrest v. State of Indiana, No. 91A05-1106-CR-324; Joseph A. Taylor v. Alan P. Finnan, No. 48A02-1105-MI-547; In Re: The Order of Contempt Against Craig Benson, Martinsville Depot, Inc., and SBS Enterprises, Inc. v. Co-Alliance, LLP, No. 55A04-1010-CC-646; Thomas M. Slaats v. Sally E. Slaats, No. 87A01-1009-DR-523; and Shawnee Construction and Engineering v. Don C. Stanley, Jr, No. 02A04-1010-CT-610, in which Dickson voted to grant transfer.

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