ILNews

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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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