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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. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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