Environmental issues

Justices reconcile conflicting trial rules

February 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In reversing an order granting a company’s motion to vacate partial summary judgment in an environmental cleanup lawsuit, the Indiana Supreme Court tackled the apparently conflicting Indiana Trial Rules 54(B) and 56(C).
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In pollution suit rehearing, COA rejects fresh arguments

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on rehearing a decision that the Allen County Public Library could pursue damages against contractors resulting from a diesel spill during a building project. A panel rejected arguments from defendants that it said violated a “cardinal rule” because they were raised for the first time on rehearing.
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7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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COA: Insurers have no duty to defend in environmental case

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by an Indiana court relying on Maryland law that granted summary judgment and defense costs to a business whose product led to perchlorate contamination in California and Indiana.
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Rockport plant opponents appeal quick permit extension

January 14, 2014
Dave Stafford
Environmental groups opposed to a controversial coal gasification plant proposed for southwest Indiana have asked for state administrative review of a permit that was extended without a hearing on the day it was set to expire.
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Obama appoints McKinney professor to environmental commission

December 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Eric Dannenmaier has been appointed to serve as a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation by President Barack Obama.
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Appeals court slashes contamination award from $154,632 to $7,383

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Court-ordered environmental damages caused by PCB contamination at a Churubusco industrial site were reduced from a total of $154,632 to $7,383 on Thursday by a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Court affirms insurer must cover environmental cleanup costs

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an order that an insurer pay post-notice costs of nearly $34,000 to its insured in an environmental cleanup in Mooresville.
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Supreme Court revives Rockport plant proposal

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court revived a controversial state-backed deal that would facilitate construction of a $2.7 billion coal-using synthetic natural gas plant in Rockport. The decision likely sets up another round of state regulatory review if developers choose to move forward.
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Indiana among states wanting SCOTUS to clear the air on pollution standard

December 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A coalition of 14 states, including Indiana, are headed to the Supreme Court of the United States Dec. 10 to argue that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its authority, again, in trying to regulate air pollution in upwind states.
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Justices weigh $2.7 billion Rockport deal

September 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A controversial, politically charged power plant proposal voided by an appellate court and later waylaid by the General Assembly and Gov. Mike Pence landed before the Indiana Supreme Court Sept. 5. Attorneys for and against the proposed plant pleaded that terms of the contract were on their side.
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Massa stays in Rockport case despite calls for recusal

August 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa on Aug. 14 denied a formal motion arguing that he should recuse himself from a pending case concerning a controversial power plant in Rockport. The project is backed by a longtime friend of Massa and former aide to Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose administration championed the project.
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Ethanol plant emissions suit may be bound for Indiana Supreme Court

August 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s ethanol industry faces an uncertain regulatory environment and likely more stringent emissions standards after a recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling. A state agency will ask the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case, as several corn-to-fuel plant operators also are expected to do.
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Farm smells ignite debate but no consensus reached

August 28, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Before dinner can be prepared and served at the table, the food has to be raised on a farm. However, Old MacDonald’s Farm with its placid scenes of pigs and cows is a shrinking segment of American farming, being replaced with large industrial agricultural operations with hundreds and thousands of animals.
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Massa stays in Rockport power plant case over calls for recusal

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa on Wednesday denied a formal motion arguing that he should recuse himself from a pending case concerning the controversial Rockport power plant. The project is backed by a longtime friend of Massa and former aide to Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose administration championed the project.
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Environmental groups ask Massa to recuse from Rockport case

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
Justice Mark Massa should recuse himself from hearing an Indiana Supreme Court appeal of a ruling that hindered a proposed multi-billion-dollar coal gasification plant in Rockport, several environmental and consumer groups argue in a brief filed in the case.
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COA notes Indiana law would have changed outcome of environmental dispute

August 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Using California law, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that an insurance company does not have to pay for an environmental cleanup, but the court noted it did not agree with the position of the Golden State and it would have ruled differently if Indiana law had been applicable.
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7th Circuit won’t make Indiana rip up section of I-69

July 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected environmental activists’ arguments that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately address impact on wetlands when it issued permits for a recently completed section of Interstate 69 in southern Indiana.
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7th Circuit dismisses campground owner’s appeal after raising new arguments

July 3, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Cedar Grove campground owner’s appeal regarding the judgment that the campground is subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act raised an “interesting question,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals noted, but the judges dismissed the appeal because the owner raised arguments for the first time on appeal.
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Court rules in favor of insurer in environmental cleanup dispute

May 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A release executed between a chemical manufacturing business and its insurer that relieved the insurer from claims or demands related to remediation was unambiguous and covered all policies held by the company, not just the primary liability ones, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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State must seek EPA approval before reclassifying ethanol plants

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency changed a rule to exclude ethanol plants from the category of chemical process plants which would affect emissions permitting, Indiana had to seek approval from the federal agency before it could reclassify the ethanol production facilities.
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Justices rule in favor of sewer facility operator in condemnation action

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving a compensation award for condemnation initiated by Fort Wayne’s Board of Public Works that may appear at first blush as a “no brainer” is actually not as simple as it seems, the Indiana Supreme Court pointed out Thursday.
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Environmental groups lob new suit at I-69 work

February 28, 2013
Scott Olson
An Indiana environmental group once again is attempting to stop construction of the Interstate 69 extension between Evansville and Indianapolis by filing suit in federal court.
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Law school’s environmental symposium features senior adviser to EPA

February 27, 2013
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s sixth annual spring environmental symposium on March 1 includes keynote speaker Cameron Davis, a longtime advocate for Great Lakes conservation.
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Indiana water utilities receive millions in atrazine settlement

January 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
More than a dozen Indiana water utilities will receive checks of $100,000 or more as part of $105 million in settlement disbursements announced last week in the last phase of litigation involving the weed killer atrazine that contaminated more than 1,100 water systems nationwide.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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