Focus

Pressure on PACER

May 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
On May 1, protestors across the country launched their ire on the federal judicial branch. They were not maligning the judges or their decisions, but rather they were imploring the courts to upgrade and improve the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.
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Ruling clarifies, broadens admissibility of social media content as evidence

May 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
Donnell Wilson’s murder convictions for shooting and killing two gang members in Gary relied in part on Twitter posts shown to a jury in which he bragged about having a gun and threatened to shoot rival gang members.
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Column: Using Facebook to provide notice for service of process

May 20, 2015
A recent study found that nearly 75 percent of all adults in the U.S. who use the Internet also have Facebook accounts. What if Facebook could soon have a major (positive) impact on litigation?
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Waterfill: State court vs. federal court: Which venue is best?

May 20, 2015
What are the various considerations when determining between state and federal court?
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Mediation Assistance Program appoints counsel to help litigants settle cases

May 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The program, started in 2009, matches attorney volunteers with pro se litigants as they enter settlement talks. In its inaugural year, MAP appointed legal counsel to two settlement conferences. By 2013, MAP attorneys assisted in 43 conferences.
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Johnson County ADR program sees uptick in caseload

May 6, 2015
 Associated Press, Dave Stafford
Every day, a program in Franklin works with families struggling with divorce, custody battles and child support disputes. The goal is to help resolve arguments, get cases through the court system faster, and help families move on.
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Sanctioning Bettie Page

April 22, 2015
Dave Stafford
Bettie Page’s name and image popularized by once-scandalous pinups from the 1940s and 1950s remain hot properties still able to stir up trouble.
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Intellectual property issues are increasingly arising in other practice areas

April 22, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Intellectual property is no longer the geeky practice area, and it is going to continue to become more and more prominent. Patent and trademark issues continue to emerge in practice areas such as family law, estate planning and business law.
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Lechleiter: PTO improves adversarial procedures for challenging patents

April 22, 2015
As the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues more and more patents each year, inevitably many companies will find themselves named as defendants in patent-infringement litigation.
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McCauley: Are you prepared for a data breach litigation?

April 22, 2015
John McCauley
Data breaches can be very stressful events for an organization and counsel should be prepared to help a client navigate the complexities of a proper response. At the end of the day, maintaining the client’s ongoing relationship with its customers and its reputation in the marketplace should be the primary goal of the client and counsel.
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7th Circuit decision provides 'well-reasoned test' for standard exclusion provision

April 8, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
When construction on a mixed-use development project in Missouri ran short of money and eventually stopped, the “standard exclusion” included in many title insurance policies came before to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for another review.
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Stevenson: Construction contractor non-delegable duties: then & now

April 8, 2015
With over 200 years of history, the non-delegable duty doctrine is not likely to disappear. As with many long-standing legal principles, it will likely be molded to fit today’s complex construction world.
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Focus: The transgender employees: guidance for employers

March 25, 2015
With the increased visibility of transgender people in the media, you’ve probably heard about Jazz Jennings, the 14-year-old activist who recently landed a show on TLC which will feature her family and how she deals with typical teen drama as a transgender individual. Or, you’ve spent a Saturday binge watching the Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black,” a show staring Laverne Cox, a transgender actress and LGBT advocate, who is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. It is refreshing to see trans people in the media as it reflects our growth and acceptance as a society for those who have been historically mistreated and underrepresented.
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Landowners may be on hook for contamination caused by tenants

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Lawyers say an appeals court ruling last year means landowners who learn of contamination on their property may be held liable for damages even if they did nothing to directly contribute to the pollution.
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‘Solar gardens’ catching on, but legality unclear in Indiana

March 11, 2015
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
Imagine seeing the price of gas drop 50 percent, then finding out you couldn’t take advantage because of a law that excluded drivers who lease their vehicles or whose fuel tank is on the wrong side. That’s pretty much the experience of most would-be solar energy users.
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Rising cost of legal education sparked creation of ABA task force

February 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
At public law schools, the average tuition and fees across the country for in-state residents skyrocketed 123 percent between 2003 and 2013. Private law schools were marginally better, logging an increase of 64 percent, according to a 2014 analysis by Robert Kuehn, professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
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Texts present unique challenges in evidence preservation and admission

February 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Of the billions of text messages sent daily in the world, a few will wind up as evidence in litigation. A few that should will not, and that could mean trouble for lawyers.
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Foos: Forget the next big thing; focus on your existing technology

February 11, 2015
What we often forget is that the focus of legal-based technology is to increase the productivity of attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff. We’re focused on the next big thing when we should be identifying how to customize our existing technology to save time and increase productivity.
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Trust proposal in Legislature would shield assets from creditors, permit perpetuity

January 28, 2015
Dave Stafford
Assets could be shielded from creditors and passed down to numerous generations under a legacy trust proposal being considered by the Indiana General Assembly. The proposed estate-planning device would be exempt from the rule against perpetuities.
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Partial-termination dispute gets full treatment from court

January 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
After nearly 19 years and five appearances before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, a dispute over retirement benefits has ended where it began and elicited an admission of mistaken interpretation from the court.
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Ruling extends standing in adoption cases to those with ‘lawful custody’

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
The sometimes-bitter litigation between a child’s adoptive parent and her grandparents who raised her from a young age yielded a decision from the state’s highest court that family law experts believe may represent a significant shift in adoption cases.
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Zoeller: Use depositions over interrogatories in family law matters

January 14, 2015
We’ve all received the responses to interrogatories so doctored by opposing counsel there is virtually no substance, or so littered with objections and qualifications that the answer is meaningless. So for many years my solution to this problem has been to take depositions. I will outline a few of the reasons more family law practitioners should do the same.
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Protective order filings rise during past 9 years

January 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys say the 25 percent increase reflects more understanding and less victim blaming.
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Lucky, plucky owners reclaim and renew famous Hoosier trademarks

December 17, 2014
Dave Stafford
Entrepreneurs enjoying sweet successes and heady times with the resurgence of their retro products took varied paths to claim the rights to bring back brands with deep Hoosier roots. The new owners of Roselyn Bakery, Choc-Ola chocolate drink and Champagne Velvet beer got dormant brands back on store shelves by capitalizing on trademarks that had disappeared from the marketplace but retained a certain cachet.
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Frustrations with patent trolls spark push for pest control

December 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Three years after passing the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act which overhauled the U.S. patent system, Congress and state legislatures have been introducing bills that primarily seek to reform the process by clamping down on so-called patent trolls.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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