En banc 7th Circuit says IPAS can sue

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

"Agency sues DOC over mentally ill prisoners" - IL Aug. 5-18, 2009

Issuing a decision en banc April 22, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that independent state organization Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services has the right to sue a state government agency about the practices and programs regarding mentally ill inmates.

U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton wrote a 63-page opinion for the full court, which included eight other majority members and one dissenter. The court declined to dismiss the action, reversing a decision last year by a prior three-judge appellate panel on the case of IPAS v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, et al., No. 08-3183. The holding affirms a decision by U.S. Judge Larry McKinney, removing the state of Indiana and the FSSA as defendants but keeping alive the claims against the named state officials. Specifically, the court held the 11th Amendment does not bar plaintiff IPAC from seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the state officials because the federal Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 provides that cause of action, and that plaintiff is entitled to access peer review records of treatment covered mentally ill patients.

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, a member of the original panel reversing Judge McKinney, dissented and said he would have dismissed the suit and let the administrative process take its course.

If this ruling stands and isn't appealed to the nation's highest court, it would likely impact the case of IPAC v. Indiana Department of Correction, No. 1:08-CV-11317, which Judge Hamilton had decided on July 21, 2009, before he was confirmed for the appellate bench. That case is ongoing and now before Chief Judge Richard L. Young. A motion for class certification is pending and the federal court docket shows a five-day bench trial is set for July 25, 2011.

-Michael W. Hoskins


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.