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IL Daily News - 9/11/13

IL Staff
September 11, 2013
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The IL Daily delivers legal news to your email inbox. In case you missed it, following is a recap of some of the stories reported online since the last issue of Indiana Lawyer. To subscribe to the IL Daily, visit www.theindianalawyer.com.

Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County awarded grant

The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County has been awarded a two-year grant to support its work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women presented the grant to the FJC Protective Order Project. The funds will enable the Family Justice Center to add another attorney and advocate to the project team.

In its sixth year, the Protective Order Project offers help, including social services and legal assistance, in one location to individuals seeking protection for themselves or their minor children. An effort is then made to follow each person who receives help, and assistance is given to individuals who have their protective orders violated.

A clerk of the courts is on-site so victims can file their protective order petitions conveniently and in a secure space. Access to project partners, such as Indiana Legal Services and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, is provided as well.

The FJC Protective Order Project has charted a dramatic increase in the number of victims needing assistance. In 2010, the project helped 225 victims with filing protective order petitions. That number rose to 386 in 2011 and to 420 in 2012.

Survey: Midlevel associate satisfaction hits new high

Associates in their third, fourth and fifth years at large law firms report the highest overall level of job satisfaction seen in the 10-year history of a survey on the topic.

The Midlevel Associates Survey published in the September edition of The American Lawyer gathered responses from 5,683 associates at 134 firms. Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, the job satisfaction average rose from 3.98 in 2012 to 4.04 in this year’s survey. Morale rose from 3.38 to 3.46, continuing a rise since bottoming out at 2.66 in 2009.

The survey also revealed a gender gap. Men ranked the importance of making partner higher than their female colleagues and also were likelier to report an expectation of making equity partner in five years.

View more information about the survey at www.almlegalintel.com/Surveys/Midlevel.

ACLU sues for Winamac girl who wants to play football

A northern Indiana girl who was denied the opportunity to try out for her middle school’s football team has filed a gender-equality lawsuit in federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued on behalf of the 12-year-old Winamac Community Middle School student, claiming that no boy who wants to play is turned away, but that the girl, C.B., was told to try out for volleyball or cross country instead.

C.B.’s father, Joseph Button, asked the school’s principal and athletic director if C.B. could try out and was told girls weren’t allowed to join the team, according to a statement from ACLU. Denying C.B. an opportunity to try out for football solely based on her gender violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ACLU argues.

“Numerous courts have recognized that gender is not a valid excuse for keeping young women out of previously all-male sports. Equal protection demands equality of treatment,” ACLU-Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement.

The case is C.B. v. Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation, 3-13-cv-901-TLS.

ACLU suit targets Evansville schools’ service-dog restrictions

Evansville public schools’ restrictive policy on service dogs is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ACLU of Indiana contends in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of two high-schoolers whose medical conditions require the animals.

M.T. and R.J are sophomores at Reitz and Harrison high schools respectively. They claim in the suit they and their families were unaware when school started of policies passed over the summer that require significant documentation regarding the animals two weeks before the animals may accompany students to school.

According to ACLU, M.T. has severe diabetes that can cause life-threatening changes in blood sugar, and her dog Layla alerts when the changes are occurring. R.J. has a rare mitochondrial disorder that causes seizures that prevent her from supporting her own weight without pain and discomfort, and her dog Diesel supports her mobility and balance and keeps her safe in the event of a seizure.

The suit aims to halt the policies it contends place unreasonable demands on disabled students and their families.

The complaint, M.T., et al. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, 3:13-cv-00171-RLY-WGH, is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division.

Southern District Bankruptcy Court amends rules

New rules in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana regarding wage assignment orders in Chapter 13 cases and additional requirements for electronic filing will be effective Sept. 23.

The order  signed by Chief Judge James Coachys includes the revisions: amended rules for electronic filing by attorneys, requirements of wage assignment orders, and proof of identification for pro se litigants.

Notice of the proposed amendments was provided July 9 and there were no substantive comments from the bar or public, according to the order.

ITLA to give $30,000 Conour donation to restitution fund

A $30,000 donation that convicted former attorney William Conour made four years ago to the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association will be given to a federal court fund to provide restitution to his fraud victims.

Conour in July pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. He admitted to information alleging he defrauded more than two dozen clients of at least $4.5 million. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Years before he was charged, Conour donated $30,000 in May 2009 to a general fundraising campaign for ITLA. “The ITLA has requested a court order authorizing them to deposit $30,000 with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court to be used for funding the payment of restitution to the victims in this case,” according to an Aug. 15 order signed by Southern District Chief Judge Richard Young.

ITLA executive director Micki Wilson said the organization’s executive committee unanimously agreed to take the action. “It was the right thing to do,” she said.

Innovative programs get funding support from Supreme Court

The Indiana Supreme Court has awarded more than $450,000 in court reform grants for the 2013-2014 grant cycle.

Courts across the state were given funds to help launch innovative programs or streamline operations to eliminate redundancies. A total of 37 courts – a higher number than usual – applied for funding this year, with 15 being awarded a grant.

Projects receiving grants included these focused on the implementation of the Odyssey Case Management System in Hancock and St. Joseph counties; establishing a Veterans Treatment Court in LaPorte County and a Domestic Violence Problem-Solving Court in Lawrence County; and doing a study on the rehabilitation of D felons in Starke Circuit Court.

Both Owen and Fountain counties were awarded funds to purchase equipment to remotely conduct hearings so the local courts can reduce the costs associated with transporting incarcerated defendants to the courthouse.

This year, the Supreme Court awarded $486,196 in court reform grants. Money for the grant program comes from Title IV-D reimbursements the court receives for expenses incurred in obtaining overdue child support payments.

Fort Wayne law firms merge, growing Carson Boxberger

The Fort Wayne law firms of Carson Boxberger LLP and Federoff Kuchmay LLP have merged, growing Carson Boxberger from a staff of 24 to 27 attorneys. The merger was effective Sept. 1.

Joining Carson Boxberger are Jim Federoff, Scott Federoff and Jason Kuchmay, who serve businesses, nonprofits and individuals in northern Indiana and statewide, the firm said in a news release announcing the merger.

Carson Boxberger, a business, government, litigation, intellectual property and personal services firm founded in 1945, moved in February to The Harrison mixed-use development in Fort Wayne overlooking Parkview Field downtown. The firm also has a Bloomington office.•

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