Civil Case

Transportation museum denied restraining order against railroad authority

July 17, 2017
Indianapolis Business Journal
The Indiana Transportation Museum has been denied in its request for a federal temporary restraining order against the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority. The ruling likely derails for a second straight year the Indiana State Fair Train excursion from Noblesville to Indianapolis.
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Judgment for police affirmed despite ‘insufficient’ abuse response

July 11, 2017
Olivia Covington
Though an Indiana sheriff’s department’s response to a woman’s multiple domestic violence claims against her boyfriend, who was a sheriff’s deputy, may have been “insufficient,” the woman failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove her claims against the department should go to trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled.
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‘Taken aback’ by Eskenazi’s bid for fees, COA rules for committed man

June 27, 2017
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals struck a special condition that a man who had been subject to a mental health order of commitment not use alcohol or drugs. The court also criticized the hospital for seeking legal fees in the case from the Marion County Public Defender Agency.
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Report: Most civil legal needs for low-income residents go unmet

June 15, 2017
Olivia Covington
The vast majority of civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans in the last year received inadequate or no legal help, a recent survey conducted for the Legal Services Corp. shows.
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COA reaffirms legal malpractice suit may proceed

June 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
After granting rehearing to clarify the difference between the instant legal malpractice case and previous malpractice caselaw, the Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed its previous decision to deny summary judgment to a northern Indiana law firm.
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COA rules against contractor hurt on IU jobsite

June 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
A construction manager and product manufacturer did not have a duty to a construction contractor injured on an Indiana University jobsite in October 2012, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Desire for second boat lift not enough to override prior orders

June 13, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals swatted away an appeal of a dispute between pier owners, finding previous trial court orders resulting from more than 26 years of litigation over access to a lake clearly stated when a pier’s location can be changed.
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Gorsuch has unanimous first opinion for Supreme Court

June 12, 2017
 Associated Press
Justice Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court opinion Monday stayed true to what Gorsuch promised in his nomination hearing and to the reputation for good writing he developed as an appellate judge.
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Debt collection lawyer hit with $25M judgment

June 8, 2017
 Associated Press
A Houston lawyer specializing in lawsuits against consumers for old debts has been slapped with $25 million in civil penalties by a Harris County jury that found he uses deceptive trade and debt collection practices.
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ABA supports Supreme Court review of ‘enemy combatant’

June 2, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A Guantanamo Bay detainee, represented by Indianapolis criminal defense attorney Richard Kammen, has picked up support from the American Bar Association in his challenge to the validity of the military tribunal to try him.
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Right of first refusal splits Court of Appeals

May 30, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute over contract language divided the Indiana Court of Appeals to the point where judges could not agree whether the case was one of first impression.
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COA: Mom cannot show lead cause of boy’s autism

May 30, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A grandmother failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals her grandson’s developmental disabilities were caused by the lead paint in her rented house rather than by his birth mother’s use of methamphetamine.
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COA allows nurse practitioner to testify as expert

May 30, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Evansville nurse practitioner who has training and licensure beyond that of a nurse, may testify as an expert as to whether a patient’s injuries are consistent with injuries sustained in an automobile accident, but not as to whether the accident caused the injuries, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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COA: Suspended attorney’s failure to litigate attributable to client

May 30, 2017
Olivia Covington
A now-suspended attorney’s repeated failure to communicate with his client and litigate her case was a failure directly attributable to the client and, thus, made the opposing party entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Salvation Army sues neighboring Children’s Museum over expansion

May 25, 2017
Indianapolis Business Journal, Scott Olson
The Salvation Army is suing the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, claiming its neighbor’s $35 million outdoor expansion project intrudes on its easements and restricts its access to Illinois Street.
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Suit: ‘Scheme to scam’ put dubious charges on Vectren bills

May 23, 2017
Dave Stafford
An untold number of Vectren utility customers were duped into paying dubious utility-line protection plan charges that went to a different company after Vectren presumably took a kickback on the charge, a proposed class-action lawsuit claims.
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Holcomb signs off on provision removing AG residence requirement

April 14, 2017
IL Staff
Indiana’s attorney general no longer has to reside in Indianapolis to hold office now that Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill to remove the residency requirement.
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COA: Town can compel property to connect to sewer

April 6, 2017
Olivia Covington
A northern Indiana town was within its municipal rights to compel a property owner to connect to the municipal sewer line because the properties in question were within 300 feet of the sewer system, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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High court may re-examine Civil Rights Act after LGBT ruling

April 6, 2017
 Associated Press
A ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in and Indiana case reopens the question of whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections apply to LGBT workers in the same way they bar discrimination based on someone’s race, religion or national origin.
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Judge's ruling ends civil suit against former Irwin Union bank officers

April 3, 2017
Susan Orr
An Indianapolis judge has ruled in favor of three former Irwin Union Bank & Trust Co. executives, closing the book on a civil suit that the bank’s bankruptcy trustee originally filed in 2011.
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Local Roche units sue pharmacies over alleged test-strip scheme

March 31, 2017
Indianapolis Business Journal, John Russell
Two Indianapolis-based subsidiaries of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Group are accusing a group of pharmacies and supply houses of engaging in an elaborate scheme to defraud Roche of millions of dollars in sales on diabetes test strips.
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Civil filing fee extension going to governor

March 29, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The bill extending the $1 surcharge on civil legal filings is headed to the governor’s desk.
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House to consider extension of civil legal filing fee

March 21, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A bill which would extend the pro bono legal services fee on court filings has cleared a committee in the Indiana House of Representatives and is headed for a second reading Tuesday on the floor of the lower chamber.
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Obama’s final year: US spent $36 million in records lawsuits

March 14, 2017
 Associated Press
The Obama administration in its final year in office spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, according to an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data that also showed poor performance in other categories measuring transparency in government.
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City sues drugmaker for letting OxyContin flood black market

March 14, 2017
 Associated Press
As deaths from painkillers and heroin abuse spiked and street crimes increased, the mayor of Everett, Washington, took major steps to tackle the opioid epidemic devastating this working-class city north of Seattle. He sued the maker of OxyContin.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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