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COA affirms on rehearing its ruling against Bloomington dry cleaner

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected on rehearing a Bloomington dry cleaner’s request that it reconsider its August ruling that went against him.

An appellate panel granted rehearing in James T. Mitchell v. 10th And The Bypass, LLC, and Elway, Inc., 53A01-1112-PL-593, in which the COA affirmed a Monroe Circuit ruling that vacated partial summary judgment in favor of Mitchell. On Tuesday, the COA issued an opinion affirming its ruling.

“We grant Mitchell’s petition to address his contention that our opinion misunderstands and mischaracterizes his argument. We think not,” Judge Edward Najam wrote for the panel. “After careful consideration, we conclude that on rehearing Mitchell attempts to adjust and supplement his original argument, which he cannot do.”

Mitchell had been sued in an action that claimed environmental damage resulting from a dry cleaning business in which he was involved.

In January 2010, the trial court granted Mitchell’s request for partial summary judgment. The LLC later asked the court to vacate that motion after presenting evidence from a former employee who testified to chemical spills, and the court vacated its earlier order.

Mitchell contended the appellate panel allowed the abuse of discretion standard of review to dictate the outcome and to create “bad law,” and he challenged the COA’s reliance on the plain meaning of Indiana Trial Rule 54(B) regarding judgment upon multiple claims involving multiple parties.

“And Mitchell chides us for not adopting federal practice on how a trial court should handle new evidence when reconsidering a partial summary judgment under federal Rule 54(B),” Najam wrote. The court rejected those and other arguments on rehearing.

“In sum, we understood and decided this appeal based on the facts and argument originally presented by the parties. Our opinion applying Trial Rule 54(B) recognizes the inherent distinction between an interlocutory order and a final judgment and underscores that a party who wants to avoid the risk that an interlocutory order will be revised ‘at any time’ under Rule 54(B) should ask the court to enter the order as a final judgment,” Najam wrote.

“Without reweighing the evidence, we are satisfied that the factors the trial court identified in its decision to set aside the previous interlocutory order are more than sufficient to demonstrate that the court did not abuse its discretion. As such, we affirm our opinion.”


 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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