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Justices take certified questions

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The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted three certified questions stemming from a case in the Southern District of Indiana.

In Loparex LLC v. MPI Release Technologies LLC, et al., No. 1:09-CV-01411, Loparex sued its competitor and two former employees for trade secret misappropriation and related causes of action. The defendants counterclaimed, alleging Loparex violated an Indiana statute that prohibits blacklisting of employees.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson granted summary judgment for the defendants on all claims brought by Loparex. The remaining claims before the court are brought by defendants Gerald Kerber and Stephan Odders, former employees of Loparex, under Indiana’s anti-blacklisting statute, Indiana Code 22-5-3-2.

The judge sent three certified questions to the Supreme Court in September:

1)    Is Wabash Railroad Co. v. Young, 69 N.E. 1003 (Ind. 1904), still good law, such that individuals who voluntarily leave employment are precluded from pursuing a claim under I.C. 22-5-3-2?
2)    In an action brought under I.C. 22-5-3-2, are attorney fees incurred in defending an unsuccessful claim against a former employee or in prosecuting a claim by a former employee recoverable as compensatory damages?
3)    Is an unsuccessful suit to protect alleged trade secrets, within which a former employer seeks to preclude any competitive employment of a former employee by pursuing permanent injunctive relief and in settlement negotiations, a basis for recovery under I.C. 22-5-3-2?

In her order requesting certification, Magnus-Stinson wrote, “Several issues of unsettled state law will control the disposition of the remaining claims. One concerns the continuing precedential value of a century-old Indiana Supreme Court ruling. Another lacks any clear controlling Indiana precedent. The third seeks an extension of Indiana common law limiting the application of the anti-blacklisting statute.”

The justices accepted the certified questions in a Sept. 30 order. Briefs are due Oct. 27.
 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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