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District judge asks court to answer certified question

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The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana is asking the state’s Supreme Court to accept a certified question in litigation involving the Indiana Products Liability Act.

U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney granted plaintiff Nicholas Green’s motion to certify a question of Indiana law June 30. The question is, “Whether, in a crashworthiness case alleging enhanced injuries under the Indiana Products Liability Act, the finder of fact shall apportion fault to the person suffering physical harm when that alleged fault relates to the cause of the underlying accident.”

Green was driving a 1999 Ford Explorer Sport in Indianapolis in January 2006 when his vehicle left the road, hit a guard rail, rolled down an embankment, and came to rest upside down in a ditch. Green is now a quadriplegic because of the accident.

He sued Ford Motor Company in federal court under the state’s Product Liability Act, claiming the design of the car was defective and unreasonably dangerous, and Ford was negligent in its design of the car’s restraint system.

Ford intends to assert an affirmative defense based upon Green’s alleged negligence in causing the underlying accident. Green argues his alleged negligence is irrelevant because only a product’s defective design can cause “enhanced injuries.”

“…the critical question is whether a plaintiff who negligently causes the underlying accident in a crashworthiness or enhanced injury case also ‘causes’ the enhanced injuries that, by law, the plaintiff is required to prove were caused by the defective design,” wrote Judge McKinney. “Indiana Code section 34-20-8-1 does not answer that question ….”

Judge McKinney noted that the law is uncertain, no Indiana court has written on the issue, there is a split of authority in other states, and the issue is a matter of vital public concern. Until the issue is resolved, the judge administratively closed the case out of the Indianapolis Division, Nicholas A. Green v. Ford Motor Co., No. 1:08-CV-0163, pending a resolution by the Supreme Court.
 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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