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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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