Courts

Steak n Shake can’t force arbitration with disgruntled franchisees

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed that Steak n Shake Enterprises Inc. cannot compel several of its franchisees to engage in nonbinding arbitration regarding claims brought by the franchisees in federal court. Steak n Shake tried to force arbitration after the restaurants already sued over the requirement all restaurants must adhere to company pricing and promotions.
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7th Circuit dismisses 3 Latin Kings gang members’ appeals

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because three Latin Kings gang members took plea deals with the government after they were charged with several counts – including conspiracy to participate in racketeering – that limited their ability to appeal, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out their appeals Friday.
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Divided 7th Circuit affirms dismissal of RTW challenge

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision by a federal judge in northern Indiana to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a union challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law. The majority concluded the law does not violate the union members’ rights under the U.S. Constitution nor is it preempted by federal labor legislation.
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Solo practitioner named to Lake County bench

September 2, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Merrillville attorney Bruce Parent has been named as a judge in the Lake Superior Court, Civil Division.
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Irsay pleads guilty to misdemeanor in drug case

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay must submit to drug testing for a year after pleading guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated stemming from his arrest after a traffic stop in March.
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Tax Court reverses reduction in school corp.'s exempt debt service fund levy

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court on Friday overturned the decision by the Department of Local Government Finance to reduce the Gary Community School Corp.’s exempt debt service fund levy for the 2011 budget year. Judge Martha Wentworth found the state agency had no authority to reduce the levy.
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Supreme Court recommends abolishing Marion County township courts

September 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A report from the National Center for State Courts recommends the nine township small claims venues in Indianapolis transition into a unified section of Marion Superior Courts. The Indiana Supreme Court is asking lawmakers to abolish the current system and unify them with the Superior Courts’ Civil Division effective Jan. 1, 2016.
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Same-sex couples seek to have their Indiana marriages recognized

September 2, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Three same-sex couples who married in the days after Indiana’s marriage law was declared unconstitutional have filed a complaint in federal court, asserting the validity of their unions is not affected by the stay issued from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Victim's mother wants inmate cleared for execution

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
The mother of an Indiana college student killed nearly 17 years ago says it is time for the man convicted of her murder and rape to be executed.
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Man acquitted in triple-slaying seeks new judgment

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
A former Indiana State trooper acquitted last year in the slayings of his wife and two children is asking a judge to issue a judgment against a man convicted in the case nearly a decade ago, holding him accountable for their deaths.
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Gary courthouse fire forces shift in 2 more courts

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
Courts officials in northwestern Indiana have relocated two more courts to other buildings following an electrical fire that damaged part of a courthouse.
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Justices halt ruling striking down right-to-work law

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday put on hold a lower court judge's ruling striking down the state's right-to-work law and denied a request that it be consolidated with a similar case, clearing the way for the justices to hear arguments on the issue next week.
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Court rules against FedEx in drivers' labor case

August 29, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal court has ruled that FedEx Corp. improperly classified about 2,300 drivers in California as independent contractors instead of employees.
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Teen has 1 adjudication overturned, must still pay restitution

August 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A teenager adjudicated as delinquent after it was determined he was in a stolen car was able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse one of his adjudications due to double jeopardy. But, the teen must still pay restitution to the victims of his crimes.
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Man waited too long to ask for return of cash bond

August 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court was not statutorily authorized to retain a man’s cash bond in 2005, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of his motion to release the bond because he waived his argument.
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Judges order new rape trial based on inadmissible evidence

August 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a detective’s testimony that a man on trial for committing rape was also a suspect in another case likely had a prejudicial impact on the jury finding the man guilty, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial.
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Man acquitted of charges in bar fight death

August 29, 2014
 Associated Press
Jurors have acquitted a southern Indiana man of criminal charges for killing a man when he drove a truck over him after a bar fight.
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COA affirms reduction of incarcerated father’s child support obligation

August 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion by reducing a father’s child support and arrearage to an absolute minimum level after he requested review of his obligation, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday. The man, who is incarcerated, claimed the court did not consider his income or needs when making the reduction.
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Fire closes Lake County Courthouse in Gary

August 28, 2014
 Associated Press
The Lake County commissioners say a county courthouse in Gary will likely remain closed for a week after an electrical fire.
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COA: Break in employment triggered non-compete agreement

August 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who joined a competitor immediately after his employment ended at another company did not violate a non-compete agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges agreed that a 10-day break in employment with the prior employer two years earlier constituted the beginning of his non-compete agreement, and his new job falls outside that two-year non-compete restriction.
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PACER removes older 7th Circuit case files

August 28, 2014
IL Staff
Closed cases filed before 2008 in the U.S 7th Circuit Court of Appeals have been removed from the PACER online database, as have older records from several other federal courts.
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Judge refuses inmate's request for execution

August 27, 2014
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana judge has turned down the request of a murder convict who asked to be executed even though he wasn't sentenced to death.
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COA declines to reverse conviction after co-defendant’s conviction overturned

August 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday did not agree with a defendant that his conviction of attempted aggravated battery should be reversed based on the reasoning of a separate appeals panel that overturned the same conviction of his co-defendant.
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7th Circuit finds ALJ’s methodology flawed, orders more proceedings

August 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found an administrative law judge’s opinion denying a man Social Security disability benefits reflects a “flawed evaluation of the record of evidence,” so it ordered more proceedings on the matter.
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Fee cap provision in Med Mal Act does not reduce fund’s liability

August 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has sided with an estate in a dispute over whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act's cap on attorney fees from a Patient Compensation Fund award also applies to reduce the fund’s liability. The issue is one of first impression in Indiana.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

  4. For some strange reason this story, like many on this ezine that question the powerful, seems to have been released in two formats. Prior format here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263 That observed, I must note that it is quite refreshing that denizens of the great unwashed (like me) can be allowed to openly question powerful elitists at ICE MILLER who are on the public dole like Selby. Kudos to those at this ezine who understand that they cannot be mere lapdogs to the powerful and corrupt, lest freedom bleed out. If you wonder why the Senator resisted Selby, consider reading the comments here for a theory: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263

  5. Why is it a crisis that people want to protect their rights themselves? The courts have a huge bias against people appearing on their own behalf and these judges and lawyers will face their maker one day and answer for their actions.

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