District Courts

BLE will strike broad question, revise other

September 27, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court’s Board of Law Examiners is cutting one controversial question from its annual bar exam application and will revise another in order to comply with a federal judge’s recent ruling.
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Federal judge: 1 bar exam application question goes too far

September 21, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has found that one of the Indiana bar exam application questions violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it infringes on potential lawyers’ privacy rights.
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Judge allows state to cut Medicaid fees to pharmacists

September 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis federal judge has reversed the temporary restraining order she issued two months ago that stopped the state from cutting fees it pays to pharmacists for dispensing Medicaid prescriptions.
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Federal court fees, PACER charge going up

September 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The policy-making body of the federal judiciary wants U.S. judges to limit how often they seal entire civil cases. In addition, the public access fee for all records is rising and other court fees are going up.
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New magistrate takes the oath

September 14, 2011
U.S. Magistrate Denise K. LaRue was sworn in Sept. 8 as the Southern District of Indiana's newest magistrate.
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Judge dismisses challenge to NCAA bylaws

September 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two former NCAA athletes whose scholarships were revoked following injuries have lost their suit that argued without certain NCAA Division I bylaws, they would have received multi-year athletic scholarships that would have covered the cost of their bachelor’s degrees.
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Magistrate judge’s investiture ceremony Thursday

September 7, 2011
IL Staff
The formal swearing-in ceremony for Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, is at 2 p.m. Sept. 8 in Courtroom 202 of the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Indianapolis. The event is open to the public.
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Retired U.S. magistrate judge dies

September 6, 2011
IL Staff
A Marion County attorney who later served as judge of the Circuit Court and as a United States Magistrate Judge died Sept. 1.
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Circuit Court upholds settlement; $43 million in attorney fees

September 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $180 million settlement and grant of $43.5 million in attorney fees in a dispute between retirement plan participants and their former employer. Some class members objected to the amount of attorney fees, but the 7th Circuit saw no reason to disturb the lower court’s decision.
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Toxic dust exposure leads to litigation

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indianapolis attorney Gabe Hawkins has already attended the funerals of three former clients, and he hopes that he won’t have to see a fourth before finally being able to say that the courtroom battle they’ve been waging for years has paid off.
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7th Circuit affirms judgment for officers in diabetic man’s case

August 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the City of East Chicago and police officers on an estate’s excessive force and other claims, finding the officers had reasonable suspicion that a diabetic man who was having a hypoglycemic episode was possibly intoxicated.
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Judge OKs settlement in voter-registration class action suit

August 26, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis on Thursday approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against Indiana relating to state offices not adequately providing public assistance for voter registration.
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Judge hears arguments on bar exam application suit

August 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
How far the Indiana Board of Law Examiners can go in asking potential lawyers about their mental-health history was the subject of a federal court hearing Wednesday, where attorneys explored the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act and what might be reasonable in determining someone’s potential fitness to practice law.
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Clerk of Court for Northern District retiring

August 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The longtime clerk for the Northern District of Indiana is retiring at the end of the year, and those interested in filling that vacancy have nearly a month to apply for the federal court position.
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Federal appeals court examines disputed telephone charges

August 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Writing for a unanimous 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel, U.S. Judge David Hamilton authored an opinion Tuesday full of what he calls “telephonese.” The opinion delves into a small business’s disputed phone bill charges and how those matters are governed by state and common law.
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Appeals court: Federal judge should decide on state law claims

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent a case back to an Indianapolis judge, saying she didn’t properly weigh whether the case should be prolonged on remand to Hamilton Superior Court instead of her deciding on the issues that have already been fleshed out in federal court during the past year and a half.
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Judge: Students’ off-campus Internet photos protected by First Amendment

August 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ruled that a northern Indiana school district shouldn’t have disciplined two high school girls who posted racy online photos of themselves posing with phallic lollipops and simulating sexual acts because the pictures were outside of school and are protected by the First Amendment.
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Volunteers needed for pilot program

August 11, 2011
IL Staff
The United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana is looking for law offices and firms to volunteer for an electronic civil case opening pilot program. Electronic civil case opening lets attorneys file new civil and miscellaneous cases via the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system instead of in paper form at the clerk’s office.
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South Bend attorney to investigate allegations of misconduct in Northern District

August 11, 2011
IL Staff
South Bend attorney Joseph D. Bradley has been appointed by Chief Judge Philip P. Simon to serve as special counsel to investigate allegations of attorney misconduct that are pending before the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Bankruptcy court amends local rules

August 9, 2011
IL Staff
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana has adopted revisions to its local rules, which took effect Aug. 3.
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Lawyer can argue for cost-of-living adjustment for increased fees

August 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that an attorney that successfully represented a client in a Social Security disability benefits suit should be allowed to make a request for a cost-of-living adjustment that would exceed the maximum $125 per hour that can be awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
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Bankruptcy filings drop

August 5, 2011
IL Staff
The number of people filing for bankruptcy around the United States has decreased as compared to the same time last year, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
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South Bend attorney pleads guilty to fraud charges

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana attorney accused of aiding and abetting mail and wire fraud has pleaded guilty to all 13 counts listed in an information filed Monday.
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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
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Judge approves proposed settlement agreement

July 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has approved a proposed settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration alleging that an agency policy that doesn’t allow certain Medicaid waiver enrollees to apply for services other than what’s been approved by their case manager is in violation of federal Medicaid law.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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