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Court won’t seal evidence in Spierer civil suit

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Evidence in the federal civil suit against the last people believed to have seen missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer may not be covered by a broad order shielding exhibits and testimony from public view.

Spierer was 20 and a freshman on the IU Bloomington campus when she disappeared in June 2011. No arrests have been made, but Spierer’s parents sued the three men believed to have last seen her after a night of drinking and partying.

Robert and Mary Spierer in January asked Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to grant a protective order that would have broadly granted sealed discovery. The Spierers’ motion said a protective order was necessary “to protect the public disclosure of private and sensitive information that could detrimentally affect the ongoing criminal investigation and ensure an impartial jury at trial.”

Magistrate Tim Baker denied the motion Wednesday, writing the request was overbroad and failed to meet 7th Circuit standards. 

“The Court will not grant carte blanche to seal such material by way of an approved protective order,” Baker wrote, “and any subsequent motion seeking to seal any part of the record will be strictly scrutinized.”

The suit is Robert Evan Spierer and Mary Charlene Spierer v. Corey Rossman, Jason Isaac Rosenbaum and Michael B. Beth, 1:13-CV-00991-TWP-TAB. Pratt in December dismissed Beth from the suit and also dismissed negligence claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman. But she let stand negligence per say and dram shop liability claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman.

“Whether or not these claims can survive summary judgment is a matter for another day,” Pratt wrote in December.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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