ILNews

Court: Evidence needed to enforce CID

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Attorney General must provide at least a verified petition to a court to enforce a civil investigative demand and show the demand is proper, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

In Nu-Sash of Indianapolis, Inc. d/b/a McKee Sunroom Designs v. Steve Carter, Indiana Attorney General, and Liberty Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Booster Club Productions, No. 49S02-0801-CV-16, Nu-Sash appealed a trial court order that the company respond within 10 days to a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by Attorney General Steve Carter regarding consumer complaints. At the hearing on the petition, the attorney general did not present any evidence to show why the demand is proper under Indiana Code Sections 4-6-3-1 through 6. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court didn't abuse its discretion because the attorney general met the statutory requirements for issuing a CID.

When someone fails to respond to a CID issued by the attorney general for information relevant to an investigation, the attorney general can file an application for an order to enforce the CID. During the hearing, the attorney general has to demonstrate to the trial court that the demand to enforce the CID is proper.

In this case, the attorney general only presented an unsworn petition to show reason to enforce the CID. Even though the requirements of the other sections of the code were met, the attorney general has to establish only that there is an investigation and there are reasonable grounds that the person to whom the CID is directed has relevant information, Justice Theodore Boehm wrote. A demonstration can be a verified petition, affidavit, testimony, or other relevant evidence presented at a hearing.

"There is no allegation of abuse in this case, but history teaches that power can be and has been abused," he wrote. "Requiring the Attorney General to provide at least a verified petition to enforce affords all citizens some protection against 'fishing expeditions' or retaliatory or abusive CIDs that are unrelated to legitimate investigations, and imposes a mild deterrent to arbitrary use of government authority."
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