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Justices to weigh civil court rulings in criminal wrongful death case

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A Lake County civil case filed against a driver who hit a woman causing fatal injuries will go before the Indiana Supreme Court to determine whether the court’s preliminary motions delaying the case were proper.

Justices agreed to hear an interlocutory appeal in the wrongful death action Joseph D. Hardiman and Jaketa L. Patterson, as Co-Administrators of the Estate of Britney R. Meux, Deceased v. Jason R. Cozmanoff, 45S03-1309-CT-619. Britney Meux was jogging when she was hit by a car driven by Jason Cozmanoff, who was charged with 13 crimes including reckless homicide.

With the criminal case pending, Lake Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider granted a stay of discovery in the civil case requested by Cozmanoff, who argued that requiring the civil case to proceed would infringe on his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The trial court also ordered Cozmanoff to answer the complaint within 30 days.

Both sides asked the Court of Appeals to review the trial court’s ruling, and the appellate panel issued a not-for-publication opinion in May that later was revised to a for-publication ruling. The panel concluded the discovery stay should be lifted and the civil litigation allowed to proceed.

The case is one of two appeals the Supreme Court added to its docket for the week ending Sept. 27. Justices also agreed to grant transfer in Gayle Fischer v. Michael and Noel Heymann, 49S02-1309-PL-620, in which the Court of Appeals reduced a damages award from almost $94,000 to $117 after a couple backed out of a condo purchase agreement in a dispute over needed electrical repairs.

The court declined transfer in 22 cases and vacated transfer in Indiana Newspapers, Inc. d/b/a The Indianapolis Star v. Jeffrey M. Miller, et al., 49S02-1305-PL-311. Justices in that case heard oral argument one day before issuing an order that let stand a trial court ruling ordering the Star to provide identifying information regarding an online commenter in a defamation case.

Complete transfer disposition lists may be viewed here.
 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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