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COA: No preliminary injunction against casinos

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A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges agreed a city isn't entitled to a preliminary injunction to order riverboat casinos to make payments to the city, but the judges disagreed as to why the city didn't meet its burden to prove an injunction was necessary.

In City of Gary, Ind. v. The Majestic Star Casino, et al., No. 49A02-0807-CV-625, Gary appealed an order denying its motion to transfer venue and an order denying the city's motion for a preliminary injunction to compel Majestic Star I and II casinos to make payments from adjusted gross receipts to the city.

In addition to the city's agreement with the casinos, the city entered into an agreement with Gary New Century to redevelop property; several years later, GNC's rights to a portion of the redevelopment property were assigned to Majestic Star I.

In 2005, the city, GNC, and the casinos amended their original agreements. A dispute arose about the validity and meaning of the 2005 amendment, and the casinos stopped paying a portion of their adjusted gross receipts to the city as in the original agreement and deposited it into a separate bank account to be distributed in accordance with an arbitration award.

The casinos and GNC filed a complaint in Marion County against the city and the Indiana Gaming Commission alleging the city failed to fulfill its obligations under the GNC agreement and the 2005 amendment. Gary filed a motion to transfer venue to Lake County and for a preliminary injunction to make the casinos resume payments to the city, arguing the lack of money hurt the general public because it affects the city's ability to pay overtime for public workers and repair infrastructure. The trial court denied both motions.

The Court of Appeals unanimously agreed it didn't have jurisdiction over Gary's appeal of its motion to transfer venue because the city filed its appeal after the 30-day deadline had passed under Ind. App. R. 14(A).

The judges also affirmed the trial court's denial of Gary's motion for a preliminary injunction, although their reasons for doing so differed. Judge Elaine Brown wrote there are other options for Gary to continue with its city services, such as issuing bonds, instead of cutting essential services. Because the casinos are depositing payments into a segregated bank account and Gary has the capacity to issue general obligation bonds, Judge Brown wrote the city failed to show an inadequate remedy at law, thus causing irreparable harm pending resolution of the substantive action.

Judge Terry Crone, in a separate concurring-in-result opinion, believed the appellate court shouldn't consider the city's ability to issue bonds in assessing the nature and extent of its alleged damages and the availability of alternative remedies.

"Only rarely should the judiciary intervene in such matters, and I believe that we should refrain from serving as the City's de facto budget director in this case," he wrote.

Although the judge believes the casinos' withholding of payments to the city to be clearly against the public interest, the city has an alternate remedy through an arbitration clause in the agreement, so a preliminary injunction isn't necessary. Judge Cale Bradford, concurring in result in a separate opinion, agreed with Judge Crone to the extent the arbitration clause provides Gary an alternate remedy at law.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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