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Fees against IHSAA for unreasonable litigation upheld

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The Indiana High School Athletic Association should pay for its insistence on enforcing rules that courts repeatedly said were arbitrary and capricious, an appeals panel ruled Tuesday.

The case dates to the early 1990s and involves former Andrean High School student-athlete Shane Schafer, who withdrew from school due to a medical condition and was forced to repeat a grade. The IHSAA declared him ineligible to play basketball.

IHSAA appealed a ruling from Jasper Circuit Special Judge Daniel J. Molter awarding the Schafers more than $86,000 in fees in the long-running litigation, a decision affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

“A trial court may award attorney’s fees when a party continues to litigate the case after the party’s claims have become frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless,” Senior Judge Randall Shepard wrote for the panel in Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. v. Gregory S. Schafer and Shane Schafer b/n/f Gregory S. Schafer, 37A03-1303-CP-86.

“Here, the trial court ordered fees after finding that the litigation conduct by the Indiana High School Athletic Association in trying to prevent a student from playing for his school demonstrated all three of these.

“We conclude that, at the least, the trial court was within its discretion to hold that the course of conduct by IHSAA was 'unreasonable' and that it could consider the multiple rulings adverse to IHSAA in reaching that decision.”
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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