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High court clarifies preliminary injunction issue

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The Indiana Supreme Court issued an opinion today explaining its reasoning for granting a permanent writ of mandamus last year against Clark Circuit Court. The justices also clarified the procedure that may be used to withdraw a case from a court that fails to rule promptly after hearing a motion related to a preliminary injunction.

In August 2009, Crain Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. filed a complaint in Clark Circuit Court seeking damages and injunctive relief against Elite Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. and its officers and employees. The company also filed for a preliminary injunction against Elite to prevent it from misappropriating Crain's confidential business information.

Clark Circuit Judge Daniel Moore was assigned to the complaint. Elite filed for a change of judge, which was granted. Judge Moore still presided over Crain's preliminary injunction hearing Aug. 20, which was scheduled prior to the request for change of judge. The parties were given until Sept. 14 to submit proposed findings of fact. Elite move for and was granted a 10-day extension to file. On Sept. 21, Crain filed a praecipe alleging the court failed to timely rule on the preliminary injunction motion and asked the clerk pursuant to Indiana Trial Rules 53.1 and 65(A)(3) to review the matter and determine more than 30 days had passed without a ruling since the conclusion of the hearing on the preliminary injunction.

Eight days later, the clerk determined a ruling on the preliminary injunction request hadn't been delayed. Judge Moore then denied the preliminary injunction. Crain filed the original action for permanent writ of mandamus, which the Supreme Court granted Dec. 7.That writ ordered the clerk to withdraw the case from the trial court and transmit it to the Supreme Court for appointment of a special judge and for Judge Moore to vacate his Oct. 2 order denying the preliminary injunction.

In today's action, State of Indiana ex. rel. Crain Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. v. The Clark Circuit Court, et al., No. 10S00-0910-OR-500, the justices noted the papers filed aren't clear as to whether Crain sought relief because the Circuit Court failed to rule within 10 days after the preliminary injunction hearing, per T.R. 65(A)(3), or within 30 days after the hearing, per T.R. 53.1, or both. There's been no precedent discussing the interplay between the two trial rules - T.R. 65(A)(3) refers to the 10-day deadline but also refers to T.R.53.1's 30-day time frame for ruling on motions in general.

"These rules should be interpreted in conjunction with each other to mean that unless an order is entered within ten days after the hearing upon the granting, modifying, or dissolving of a temporary or preliminary injunction, there has been a delay in ruling and an interested party may immediately praecipe for withdrawal under the procedure provided in Trial Rule 53.1(E)," the per curium order stated.

If the ruling involves the granting, modifying, or dissolving of a temporary or preliminary injunction and it hasn't been entered within 10 days, it's not necessary for a party to wait for the 30-day period under T.R. 53.1. A clerk should determine the question of delay with reference to the 10-day period.

Because a ruling wasn't issued within 10 days of the Aug. 20 hearing and Crain then filed its praecipe, it's entitled to have the case withdrawn from the court.

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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