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Justices again take utility’s case against Fort Wayne

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A decade-long legal dispute between the city of Fort Wayne and a water utility will make a second appearance before the Indiana Supreme Court. The case was the only one of 28 in which a petition seeking transfer to the high court was granted for the week ending Aug. 10.

The justices granted transfer last week to Utility Center, Inc. d/b/a Aqua Indiana, Inc. v. City of Fort Wayne, 90S04-1208-PL-450. The city has sought since June 2002 to condemn utility property through eminent domain.

The city’s board of works has set prices multiple times for the acquisition of a water facility based on the average of estimates as required under Indiana Code 32-24-2. The price has fluctuated between $14.7 million and $17.2 million.

In January, the Court of Appeals unanimously found in favor of the city and rejected the utility’s argument that it was entitled to a jury trial to determine the fair market value of the land the city sought to condemn. The appeals court affirmed the trial court, “concluding that the trial court can and should decline to hold a jury trial and limit its review as such.”

In 2007, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the city.

The justices declined to take the murder appeal of James Whately, who was convicted of killing Indianapolis hotel owner Bharat Patel in August 2007. It was one of 22 criminal cases the Supreme Court declined to grant transfer.

Other criminal appeals the Supreme Court denied include:

  • The murder and armed robbery conviction of Lucas Holland in Monroe Superior Court. Holland was convicted of killing David Moore in 2010 after stealing an ATV on his property.
  •  Michael Phelps, convicted as an eighth-grader of attempted murder for shooting a former classmate at Martinsville Middle School. After his conviction during a bench trial, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.


The transfer disposition list may be viewed here.

 

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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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