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DTCI: Kyrouac looking forward to 2011

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DTCI-Kyrouac-scottI am truly honored and humbled to be the 44th president of DTCI. When I look back on all the time I have spent with DTCI, I can honestly say it was well worth it. I look forward to another year of fulfilling and worthwhile effort in partnership with the DTCI board of directors.

Goals for 2011

It is no secret that defense lawyers are some of the nicest folks around, at least outside the legal arena. The real secret that I want to share with my fellow DTCI members is that plaintiffs’ attorneys also fit this description. This altruism leads me to my first goal for the coming year: promoting civility.

A wise letter to a local newspaper editor recently said, “Criticizing others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.” This should serve as a principle in our quest to promote civility. There is no reason to be negative about a legal opponent, judge, or even a member of your own firm. Muhammad Ali will never be canonized as a saint, but he did demonstrate that one does not have to tear an opponent down after a victory to make himself look better. Ali was usually very complimentary after the fight about his defeated opponent. May I suggest that lawyers hold their tongues and think twice before criticizing a fellow member of the bar? Motions to compel and motions for sanctions should be filed only as the last resort. Rather than write the nasty letter or e-mail, will you consider picking up the phone and engaging in civil conversation? On a similar note, as an organization I sincerely hope we will continue to refrain from supporting any legislation that is “anti lawyer” or “anti jury.” Our system of justice has been in effect for well over 200 years, and it has worked well. The right to settle disputes by jury should be available to all and should remain an integral part of our freedom.

A second goal for 2011 is to continue the growth and development of all of our sections. This is especially true with regard to the paralegal section. Paralegals have the potential to make law firms more cost efficient. Too often they are an afterthought in the defense practice. It is essential that they be allowed to continue their development in our organization.

A third goal is to be more responsive to the needs of our sponsors. Vendor booths at seminars should be in areas that are easily accessible to attendees. At the 2011 annual meeting, I recommend that we consider giving a few engineering experts and vocational experts an opportunity to make some short mutually beneficial presentations so that lawyers truly understand how such services can benefit their clients. Sponsors help keep membership fees down and play a crucial role in the continuing education process. Recognition of our sponsors remains an integral task of our organization.

A fourth goal is for 2011 is to continue to provide members value in their membership. The website, although much improved, has the potential to do more. The Indiana Civil Litigation Review, which is available on the DTCI website, should be made searchable so that its articles may be located and cited more easily. Similarly, accessible brief banks could provide value to our members. As one plaintiffs’ attorney said after attending last year’s annual meeting, which discussed Stanley v. Walker, “your seminar content was great and the presenters even better.” Let’s hope in 2011, all members and nonmembers attend, enjoy, and benefit from DTCI’s fantastic seminars.

Advice from the bench

In closing, let me tell you what an honor it was to attend Justice Steven David’s robing ceremony. Justice David provided words of inspiration appropriate for the entire bar: “I believe in humility, respect, fairness, and the rule of law.” He concluded with 12 words of advice that are applicable for us all: “Work hard, do good, be proud, have fun, and do what’s right.”

With these words as our guide, 2011 shall be a great year for DTCI.
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I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the many DTCI volunteers who did so much for the association in 2010. Our space is very limited, so a mere listing must suffice.

First and foremost, I want to thank my immediate predecessor in the presidency, Mary Reeder, for her excellent leadership and devotion to our organization. While she received a handsome plaque, such tokens of appreciation will never be enough to thank Mary for her guidance.

Indiana Lawyer authors: Bryce Bennett, Michele Bryant, James Boyers, B.J. Brinkerhoff, Jeffrey Crabill, Sonia Das, Vanessa Davis, Audra Ferguson-Allen, Keith Hays, James Hehner, Takeia Johnson, Belinda Johnson-Hurtado, Matthew King, Heidi Koeneman, Jason Massaro, Libby Valos Moss, Edward Murphy, David Temple, Matthew Trainor, John Twohy, Kevin Tyra, Amy Wilson, Lewis Wooton.

Indiana Civil Litigation Review authors: Geoffrey Blazi, Patricia Erdmann, Matthew Bruno, Christopher Cross, Melanie Margolin, Lucy Dollens, Valerie Hughs, Thomas Jarzyniecki, Belinda Johnson-Hurtado, Joseph Langerak, Nicholas Levi, Ted Nolting, Scott Preston, Kevin Rasp, Casey Stafford.

Annual Meeting speakers: Michele Bryant, Michele Calderon-Johns, Vanessa Davis, Donna Fisher, Keith Hays, Tom Hays, Blaire Henley, Jerry Huelat, Barb Jones, Trent Klingerman, Chris Lee, David Mallon, Anthony Overholt, William Padgett, Robert Parker, Ginny Peterson, Casey Stafford, Jim Strenski, Kevin Tyra, Christopher Wahl.
__________

Scott Kyrouac is a partner at the Terre Haute firm of Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson, practicing in the areas of insurance defense, medical malpractice defense, product liability, trucking and transportation law, personal injury, environmental law, employment law, and municipal law. He currently serves as president of DTCI.

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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