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Indiana Supreme Court will hear IBM case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether Gov. Mitch Daniels must appear for a deposition and testify in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the cancelled IBM contract to modernize the state’s welfare system.

An order issued by the state’s justices Monday grants the expedited briefing schedule and appeal of Judge David Dreyer’s ruling in State of Indiana v. IBM, No. 49S00-1201-PL–00015.

In December, the trial court judge ruled that nothing in state statute, court precedent or public policy allows Daniels to be excused from having to testify about his decisions and knowledge of the now-cancelled, 10-year contract worth $1.37 billion. The state sued in 2010 to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars it paid the company before cancelling the contract in 2009, and the computer giant countersued on breach of contract allegations and argued the state still owes about $100 million.

The state argued that Daniels delegates day-to-day management of the governor’s office and doesn’t have any “unique substantial knowledge” of that contract, while IBM argues that Daniels took this on as a pet project and his depositions are needed.

 Initially, Dreyer ruled Daniels didn’t have to testify about his involvement, based on evidence he had reviewed at the time, and that no exception in state statute warranted his testimony. But after further review and consideration, Dreyer found that Indiana Code 34-29-2-1 is open to multiple interpretations because it lists the governor as someone who doesn’t have to offer testimony, despite other provisions that list officials and individuals with specific conditions. Only one reported case, Government Supplies Consolidating Servs., Inc. v. Bayh, 753 F. Supp. 739 (S.D. Ind. 1993) addresses the issue, but it focuses on federal privilege law and not the state statute.

Bypassing the Indiana Court of Appeals by way of Indiana Appellate Rule 56(A), the Supreme Court has set an expedited briefing schedule. The briefing schedule will be completed by early February, according to the order, and the justices will set a date for oral argument in a separate order at a later time.

The five-week IBM trial in Marion Superior Civil 10 is scheduled to start Feb. 27, with the next hearing scheduled for Tuesday on the parties’ motions for summary judgment.







 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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