ILNews

Justices take environmental, land rights appeals

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The Indiana Supreme Court accepted two civil cases last week on transfer, in addition to the two-high profile appeals involving legislative fines against lawmakers and Secretary of State Charlie White.

A transfer disposition list from the Indiana Appellate Clerk’s Office shows the justices denied 24 cases last week and accepted four. The justices granted transfer in Tim Berry, et al. v. William Crawford, et al., No. 49S02-1202-PL-76, involving the fines imposed against multiple state representatives who were part of a legislative walkout. The Supreme Court also took the consolidated case of Charlie White, et al. v. Indiana Democratic Party, No. 49S02-1202-MI-73, involving a Marion County judge’s decision finding the state’s top election official ineligible to hold office.

The other two cases the justices accepted were Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp., et al. v. Save the Valley, et al., No. 49S02-1202-MI-72, and Thomas R. Crowel v. Marshal County Drainage Board, No. 50S03-1202-MI-71.

In IKEC v. Save the Valley, the justices took a case that the Court of Appeals ruled on in August 2011 for the second time, after an initial ruling in 2005. The appellate panel found it had already ruled on an associational standing question, and as a result it denied the electric utility's attempt to relitigate that issue based on the law-of-the-case doctrine. The case involves environmental concerns about IKEC’s solid waste permit to operate a coal-fired electric generation station in Jefferson County.

In Crowel, the appellate court issued a 2-1 decision in August on a case about whether a man whose land sits higher and is not prone to flooding should have to pay for the reconstruction of an arm of a nearby drainage ditch. The trial court found the county drainage board’s decision that Crowel should contribute to the cost of the project was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful, and it was supported by substantial evidence. Judges Paul Mathias and James Kirsch reversed based on a 1950 ruling from the state Supreme Court that found a surveyor must first consider that higher land matter and how it applies to natural drainage. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, finding that Crowel’s land would benefit by reconstructing the drain, and she wrote that the holding could lead to “water wars” between neighbors.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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