ILNews

COA rules on fireworks wholesalers' challenge

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Court of Appeals ruling today that firework wholesalers have an administrative process to determine whether Indiana Code section 22-11-14-5 requires fireworks wholesalers to obtain certificates of compliance for each location reinforces an earlier Supreme Court decision on the matter.

In Roger Johnson, as Indiana State Fire Marshal v. Patriotic Fireworks, Inc. et al., the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the fire marshal's motion to dismiss the consolidated complaints of Patriotic Fireworks and other fireworks wholesalers and remanded with instructions. The fireworks wholesalers challenged the fire marshal's requirement that fireworks wholesalers with multiple locations must obtain separate certificates of compliance for each location they operate.

At issue is whether the trial court erred in failing to dismiss Patriotic's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals, relying on Johnson v. Celebration Fireworks, Inc., 829 N.E.2d 979, 984 (Ind. 2005), found the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction.

In 1997, Patriotic filed a complaint in Marion Superior Court challenging the fire marshal's interpretation of Indiana Code 22-11-14-5 without first pursuing administrative review. Nine similar cases were consolidated with Patriotic's case.

In November 2005, the state filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated cases, saying the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Patriotic failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing the complaint. Patriotic argued the trial court should dismiss the state's argument because no administrative review existed. In April 2006, the trial court denied the state's motion for reconsideration and granted its motion to certify an interlocutory order for immediate appeal.

Citing Johnson, the Court of Appeals disagreed with Patriotic's claims that no administrative remedy existed. In Johnson, Celebration Fireworks also did not first seek administrative review through the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission when challenging the same code. The Supreme Court found the issue whether wholesalers with multiple locations were required to obtain separate certificates for compliance can be properly resolved through the administrative process. In Johnson, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded it with instructions to dismiss Celebration's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Because Patriotic did not first pursue administrative review before being granted access to the trial court for judicial review, the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court lacked the subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded with instructions that Patriotic's complaint be dismissed.
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  1. This is easily remedied, and in a fashion that every church sacrificing incense for its 501c3 status and/or graveling for government grants should have no problem with ..... just add this statue, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Capitoline_she-wolf_Musei_Capitolini_MC1181.jpg entitled, "Jesus and Cousin John learn to suckle sustenance from the beloved Nanny State." Heckfire, the ACLU might even help move the statue in place then. And the art will certainly reflect our modern life, given the clergy's full-bellied willingness to accede to every whim of the new caesars. If any balk, just threaten to take away their government milk … they will quiet down straightaway, I assure you. Few, if any of them, are willing to cross the ruling elite as did the real J&J

  2. Tina has left the building.

  3. Is JLAP and its bevy of social "scientists" the cure to every ailment of the modern practitioner? I see no allegations as to substance abuse, but I sure see a judge who has seemingly let power go to her head and who lacks any appreciation for the rule of law. Seems that she needs help in her legal philosophy and judicial restraint, not some group encounter session to affirm she is OK, we are OK. Can’t we lawyers just engage in peer professionalism and even peer pressure anymore? Need we social workers to tell us it is wrong to violate due process? And if we conduct ourselves with the basic respect for the law shown by most social workers .... it that good enough in Indiana? If not, then how is JLAP to help this 2003 law school grad get what her law school evidently failed to teach her? (In addition .... rhetorical question … I have a theory that the LAP model serves as a conduit for governmental grace when the same strict application of the law visited upon the poor and the powerless just will not do. See in the records of this paper ... can the argument be made that many who save their licenses, reputations, salaries by calling upon that font of grace are receiving special treatment? Who tracks the application of said grace to assure that EP and DP standards are fully realized? Does the higher one climbs inside the Beltway bring greater showers of grace? Should such grace be the providence of the government, or the churches and NGO's? Why, we would not want to be found mixing the remnants of our abandoned faith with the highest loyalty to the secularist state, now would we?)

  4. Is JLAP and its bevy of social "scientists" the cure to every ailment of the modern practitioner? I see no allegations as to substance abuse, but I sure see a judge who has seemingly let power go to her head and who lacks any appreciation for the rule of law. Seems that she needs help in her legal philosophy and judicial restraint, not some group encounter session to affirm she is OK, we are OK. Cannot we lawyers not engage in peer professionalism and even pressure anymore? Need we social workers to tell us it is wrong to violate due process? And if we conduct ourselves with the basis respect for the law shown by most social workers .... it that good enough in Indiana?

  5. Judge Baker nails it: "Russell was in a place he did not have a right to be, to take an action he did not have a right to take. Russell neglected to leave that property even after engaging in a heated argument with and being struck with a broom handle by the property owner." AS is noted below ... sad to think that the next shoe to drop will be the thief suing the car owner. That is justice?

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