ILNews

Judges at law school to hear defamation case

IL Staff
March 30, 2009
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A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges will head a few blocks from their Statehouse courtroom to Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis to hear arguments in a case involving defamation and invasion of privacy claims stemming from a letter written to church leaders.

In Rosalynn West v. Betty Wadlington, et al., No. 49A02-0809-CV-849, Rosalynn West sued her fellow churchgoers, Betty Wadlington and Jeanette Larkins, and Larkins' employer, the City of Indianapolis, for defamation and invasion of privacy. Wadlington wrote a letter about West to their church board of trustees and board of deacons and sent the letter in an e-mail to Larkins at her work e-mail address. Larkins then forwarded the e-mail on to more than 80 other e-mail addresses.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss West's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment prevented the court from ruling whether the statements in the e-mailed letter were defamatory or false. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss.

Judges L. Mark Bailey, Michael Barnes, and Paul Mathias will hear arguments at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the law school's Wynne Courtroom, 530 W. New York St., Indianapolis.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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