ILNews

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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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