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DTCI to promote civility, opposing 'anti-lawyer' sentiments

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Terre Haute attorney Scott M. Kyrouac wants to advance civility between plaintiffs and defense lawyers, and plans to advocate against “anti-lawyer legislation” that may be lodged against the legal community.

These are two of the main goals that the 25-year attorney embraces as the new president of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana. He will be the 44th person to hold that position when his term begins at the start of 2011.
 

kyrouac Kyrouac

“We’re ambassadors for the legal profession and need to do what we can to advance civility among all attorneys we practice with,” said Kyrouac, who takes the reigns of an organization that boasts about 700 members and is considered to be one of the strongest of its kind in the country. “Too often, it seems there’s a tendency among attorneys to tear another attorney down in order make themselves look better.”

A 1985 graduate of what’s now Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Kyrouac practices at law firm Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy and focuses on personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, and various other types of defense litigation.

Indianapolis attorney Tom Schultz, a past president of the DTCI who serves as the organization’s state representative, says that Kyrouac’s leadership as a trial attorney and devotion to the practice overall make him a good fit for the presidency this next year. His experience looking at other similar defense organizations from other states shows him that Indiana has one of the strongest in the country because of its legislative lobby, an active amicus committee, and so many in-depth committees serving members.

In turn, all of those areas are priorities that Kyrouac has his sights on during his presidency.

Working with attorneys from outside Indiana during the past year, Kyrouac says he’s witnessed firsthand how civil Hoosier attorneys are compared to others from outside the state. But that doesn’t mean the practicing attorneys here are immune from hostile sentiments.

“Even though we may be mostly civil, we have to be careful” that lawyers here don’t end up behaving in uncivil ways, he said. “That is contrary to the goals our chief justice has set forth for the Indiana bar, and I think we need to promote those ideals more aggressively.”

Kyrouac is interested in advocating for legislation that promotes general civility in the legal community as well as against what he calls “anti-lawyer legislation” targeting specific segments of the practicing bar and their clientele.

For example, he refers to legislation proposed in 2010 that would have raised the penalty for failing to accept qualified settlement offers from $1,000 to $5,000 that, in essence, he sees as keeping more litigants out of court. He’s also concerned about any legal services tax that might be used in this coming budget-setting session to try and raise additional revenue and would push the DTCI to oppose that.

“I’m a strong believer in the jury system and am opposed to any anti jury trial or anti-lawyer legislation that truly takes away from our system and eliminates people’s ability to find a lawyer or get their cases heard in court,” he said. “That’s contrary to the principles of our Constitution and we all need to be on guard against it. You’ll find that my trial lawyer experience is what sets me apart from a typical DTCI mouthpiece.”

Aside from those two main priorities, Kyrouac hopes to also improve and further develop the DTCI’s website so that it’s more interactive and user-friendly for members and the public. He’s interested in seeing the organization’s Indiana Civil Litigation Review more accessible to members online as well as possible brief banks that could provide value to members to review or cite in their own cases.

He wants to continue developing each of the association’s sections, especially the paralegal section that he views as too often being an afterthought in the defense practice despite paralegals possessing the ability to make law firms more cost efficient.

All of that means continuing what his predecessors such as Indianapolis attorney Mary Reeder have done to pave the way for his presidency, Kyrouac said. He’s also looking forward to the 45-year anniversary next year that will be marked by the annual seminar in French Lick in mid-November. For 2011, the new president hopes more vendor relationships can be established to help keep down member costs, and he would like to see a strengthening of the organization’s educational efforts.

Getting these goals accomplished means being mindful of DTCI’s biggest challenge currently and in the year to come: the economy and financial concerns.

“Lawyers have been hit hard by the recession and are suffering as much as other people in Indiana. We find we have to watch our budgets and efficiently spend our membership dollars,” Kyrouac said, noting that he plans to continue focusing on efforts such as the organization’s amicus brief writing and advocacy efforts on appellate court issues.

“I’m grateful for what’s been done and I want to continue getting involved in cases and being a resource for our members the best we can.”

Joining him in leadership roles, Reeder takes on the past-president title while Lonnie D. Johnson of Bloomington is president-elect, Jerry E. Huelat of Michigan City is vice president, James D. Johnson of Evansville is secretary, and Thomas C. Hays of Indianapolis is treasurer.•

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  1. All the lawyers involved in this don't add up to a hill of beans; mostly yes-men punching their tickets for future advancement. REMF types. Window dressing. Who in this mess was a real hero? the whistleblower that let the public know about the torture, whom the US sent to Jail. John Kyriakou. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/us/ex-officer-for-cia-is-sentenced-in-leak-case.html?_r=0 Now, considering that Torture is Illegal, considering that during Vietnam a soldier was court-martialed and imprisoned for waterboarding, why has the whistleblower gone to jail but none of the torturers have been held to account? It's amazing that Uncle Sam's sunk lower than Vietnam. But that's where we're at. An even more unjust and pointless war conducted in an even more bogus manner. this from npr: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier." Today, the US itself has become lawless.

  2. "Brain Damage" alright.... The lunatic is on the grass/ The lunatic is on the grass/ Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs/ Got to keep the loonies on the path.... The lunatic is in the hall/ The lunatics are in my hall/ The paper holds their folded faces to the floor/ And every day the paper boy brings more/ And if the dam breaks open many years too soon/ And if there is no room upon the hill/ And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too/ I'll see you on the dark side of the moon!!!

  3. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  4. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  5. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

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