ILNews

COA panel to consider public access

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel wants to know why parties have not submitted what it calls "a meaningful public access set of briefs" related to product-liability claims against Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp.

The state's second highest appellate court has a public hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. March 25 in Allianz Insurance Co., et al. v. Guidant Corp., et al., No. 49A05-0704-CV-216, where judges will consider the balance of public interest for access with the need for restricting access relating to the Marion County case.

According to one of the attorneys representing Guidant, the case goes back to product-liability claims on an implantable device to treat life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysms. The appellate court last year consolidated more than one issue into this appeal and ordered the parties to submit two sets of briefs: a public access set and another confidential set that would remain sealed and only accessible to the judges and the attorneys involved.

A trial judge had granted partial summary judgment for Guidant relating to the duty to defend, and that is the main issue on appeal, attorney George Plews said. He said when insurers first filed briefs in the case, briefs lacked any substantive information and did not include much more than a table of contents and applicable caselaw. Guidant followed suit when filing its own briefs, he said. The parties were complying with a protective order issued by the trial judge against releasing certain information in the product-liability case, Plews said.

But the motion panel's July 17, 2007, order wasn't followed concerning the public briefs, and now the parties must show cause as to why sanctions shouldn't be imposed for failing to comply. The court is also now directing the parties to the Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Palmer v. Comprehensive Neurologic Services, P.C., et al., No 32A01-0512-CV-553, from June 27, 2007, which states "as a general proposition, court records are accessible to the public unless excluded from public access by a provision of Rule 9(g)(2)."

Plews said they didn't intend to make the court unhappy and were complying with instructions from the court. Attorneys listed for Allianz in the case - Brian Paul in Indianapolis and Lazar Raynal in Chicago - could not be reached for comment today.

The panel hearing Tuesday's arguments is Chief Judge John Baker, and Judges Patricia Riley and Melissa May. Arguments will be in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom.
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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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