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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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