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Bar crawl - 5/11/11

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Bar Crawl

Bar Crawl is Indiana Lawyer’s section highlighting bar association news around the state. The IL strives to include bar association news and trends in its regular stories, and we would like to include more news from specialty and county bars. If you’d like to submit an update about your bar association or a photo from an event your bar association has hosted, or if you have questions about having your bar association news included in the newspaper, please send it to Jenny Montgomery at jmontgomery@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow-up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

ISBA solo and small firm event

The Indiana State Bar Association’s Solo & Small Firm Conference will be June 2 through 4 at the French Lick Springs Hotel. Early registration deadline is May 18, and registration may be made via the bar’s website: www.inbar.org. Rooms may be reserved online at www.frenchlick.com or by phone at 888-936-9360 (the group code for this event is 0611ISB). For more information, contact Maryann Williams at 800-266-2581 or mwilliams@inbar.org.

IBA bench bar conference

The Indianapolis Bar Association will host the 2011 Bench Bar Conference June 16 through 18 at French Lick Springs Resort & Casino. The deadline for discount room rates is May 16. Rooms may be reserved online at www.frenchlick.com (the group code for the event is 0611IBA) or by calling 888-936-9360 and asking for the IBA rate. Registration is open to members of the IBA, all attorneys licensed in Indiana, conference sponsors, and their personal guests. For more information, contact Julie Armstrong at jarmstrong@indybar.org.

Violence response conference

The St. Joseph County Bar Association will host a Community Coordinated Response Conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 19 and 20 at Morris Park Country Club, 2200 McKinley Ave., South Bend. The cost to attend each day is $49 and includes continental breakfast and lunch.

Presented by Family & Children’s Center, YWCA North Central Indiana, and the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the conference will be led by trainers who specialize in the Duluth Model. This model provides a method for communities to coordinate their responses to domestic violence through an inter-agency approach that brings together justice and human service interventions with the primary goal of protecting victims from ongoing abuse. Registration deadline is May 13. For more information, contact Mary Burzynski at 574-259-5666 or marketing@fccin.org.

IBF Impact Fund grant project

The Indianapolis Bar Foundation has reorganized its grant-making activity with the intent to provide greater impact with its dollars. Its Impact Fund is now organized to provide a single high-dollar grant to an Indianapolis area project meeting the purpose of the IBF. The 2011 grant amount is $35,000.

To be considered, a project must advance the administration of justice and an understanding of the law through philanthropy, education, and service. The IBF wishes to support a project presented by an organization or collaborating organizations that creates a substantial positive impact in central Indiana.

Criteria for the grant specify that: project funding may be awarded only to non-profit organizations; the project benefits the central Indiana community, as a whole, including its impact on the image of the legal profession; the project presents opportunities for members of the central Indiana legal community to participate on a pro bono or modest means basis; the project articulates a plan to be sustained by other funding beyond the potential financial award from the IBF; the project represents either a new venture for the applicant organization(s) or a plan for significant supplementation to an existing service.

Applications are due by June 15, 2011, and are available at www.indybar.org.

Funds will be awarded by August.•

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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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