Judge rules Fishers can annex Geist

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Indiana caselaw is well settled on jurisdiction relating to annexations and incorporations, and a Hamilton Superior judge has determined Fishers should be allowed to proceed with annexing thousands of acres in Geist.

Judge Steven Nation ruled today on a high-publicity case involving the proposed annexation by Fishers of 2,200 homes in unincorporated Geist area. At issue was whether the county had jurisdiction over the annexation because of the timeline of petitions filed.

In mid-September Fishers had introduced an ordinance to start annexing the land, but four days later Geist filed an incorporation petition of its own with the county to form its own towns of East and West Geist.

Attorneys had asked the judge to stop Fishers from annexing homes and allow the Hamilton County Commissioners to rule, with both sides arguing they'd taken the "first step" in its own proceedings. The city contended the ordinance introduction sufficed, while interveners argued that an ordinance or fiscal plan adoption is needed.

Relying on Indiana Supreme Court decisions going back more than a century in Taylor v. City of Ft. Wayne, 47 Ind. 274, 282 (1874), Judge Nation cited that jurisdictional disputes are well-settled and become exclusive when proceedings are "first instituted."

"Fishers 'first instituted,' 'first undertook,' or otherwise took the 'first step' towards its annexation of the disputed area when its Town Council introduced and conducted a first reading ..." Judge Nation wrote, noting the courts have said the rule was intended to "avoid the conflict and confusion which would result from separate jurisdictional authorities proceeding at the same time."

The judge also explored similar issues and rulings from Texas and Missouri's appellate courts, holding that those jurisdictions have been consistent with Indiana's prior jurisdiction rule in the Taylor case.

Bryan Babb with Bose McKinney & Evans, one of the attorneys representing Fishers, said there was never any doubt and this is simply a 21st Century update of previous decisions on jurisdictional rule in competing annexations and incorporations.

"If you're asking a trial judge to rewrite law, you need to present what the other side of jurisdictional coin is," Babb said. "They weren't able to do that, and the judge determined that the phrase 'first instituted' here meant a simple meeting with an ordinance introduction."

The ruling means that Fishers can proceed with its annexation proceedings as soon as next week, Babb said.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues