Legal News

Evansville man gets 200 years for fire deaths of 3 people

October 27, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge on Monday sentenced an Evansville man to 200 years in prison after a jury found him guilty but mentally ill on three counts of murder for starting a fire that killed his ex-girlfriend, her grandfather and her daughter.
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Judge: Private Facebook messages fair game at arson trial

October 27, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has declined to prevent private Facebook messages from being considered as evidence at the trial of two people charged in an Evansville marina fire.
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COA rejects father’s definition of 'home' in parental rights case

October 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The “home” that is referred to in the statute allowing for the termination of parental rights is the home of the child and not the home of a particular parent, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, rejecting a father’s argument in his appeal of the termination of his parental rights.
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Judges reverse trespass conviction of man kicked out of bar

October 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a defendant that there is insufficient evidence to support his criminal trespass conviction after he was kicked out of a downtown Indianapolis bar.
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Detective’s testimony on drug buy inadmissible, but harmless error

October 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled the admission of a detective’s statement regarding a controlled drug buy should not have been admitted because it resolved the issue of the defendant’s guilt, but that admission into evidence was a harmless error.
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Attorney general wants SCOTUS to reinstate death penalty

October 27, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Tuesday that he is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to reinstate the death penalty for Tommy R. Pruitt, who was convicted in the 2001 murder of a Morgan County sheriff’s deputy.
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Marion County auditor sues city, BlueIndy over car-sharing contract

October 27, 2015
Hayleigh Colombo
Marion County Auditor Julie Voorhies sued the city of Indianapolis on Monday over its contract with BlueIndy, saying the city illegally paid $6 million to the electric car-sharing service.
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Justices to hear Fortville annexation case

October 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will have its say on three cases it took on transfer last week, including the town of Fortville’s efforts to annex nearly 600 acres.
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Court should decide if nephew is uncle’s dependent next of kin

October 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of the driver in a deadly car accident on the decedent’s nephew’s wrongful death action, finding questions exist as to whether the nephew is his uncle’s dependent next of kin.
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Indiana asks state's high court to rehear 'Elkhart 4' case

October 26, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The state has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to throw out murder convictions against three Elkhart men whose accomplice in a burglary was shot and killed by a homeowner.
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Court rules for IPS in ex-employee’s 'Moorish Christmas' suit

October 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
An ex-Indianapolis Public Schools employee and minister fired after repeated complaints of physical altercations with students lost his federal discrimination lawsuit that claimed in part he was fired for religious reasons, including his request to be allowed off work to observe “Moorish Christmas.”
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Louisville student sues author, IBJ publishing unit over book

October 23, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, J.K. Wall
Indianapolis-based IBJ Book Publishing LLC and author Katina Powell have been sued by a University of Louisville student who claims her career prospects have been damaged by Powell’s book, which alleges Powell supplied strippers and prostitutes to the Louisville men’s basketball program.
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Inside massive injury lawsuits, clients get traded like commodities for big money

October 23, 2015
 Bloomberg News
For all the black robes and ceremony, the American legal system often operates more like a factory assembly line than a citadel of individualized justice. Now a legal dispute within a plaintiffs' law firm that organizes massive torts is threatening to pull back the curtain on the mechanics of high-volume litigation.
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Indiana part of lawsuit challenging EPA carbon rule

October 23, 2015
 Bloomberg News, IL Staff
Indiana and 22 other states filed a legal challenge Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new rule requiring existing power plants to make technological changes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The rule change is expected to unleash a flood of lawsuits from lawyers challenging everything from the timing to the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature climate initiative.
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Case latest example of difficulty in prosecuting insider trading

October 23, 2015
 Bloomberg News
The U.S. dropped insider-trading charges against Michael Steinberg, a former fund manager at SAC Capital Advisors LP who was convicted by a federal jury, in the latest fallout from a major appeals court ruling that made such prosecutions more difficult.
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AG settles with Aspen Dental over deceptive advertising

October 22, 2015
IL Staff
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has reached a settlement with New York-based Aspen Dental Management Inc. over deceptive advertising and unfair tactics claims used to promote services in Indiana.
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COA affirms sanctions for lawyer’s misrepresentation of invoices

October 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals called out an attorney for the errors in her appellate brief and considered requiring her to prove she attended continuing legal education on appellate practice before filing anything else before the appeals court.
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Lawsuit: School squelched workers' rights over online posts

October 22, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two Indiana school cafeteria workers who were disciplined after posting concerns about school spending on social media.
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Has it become impossible to prosecute white collar crime?

October 21, 2015
 Bloomberg News
For close watchers of the interactions between the Justice Department and the financial industry, the mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case was about more than just the fact that a handful of jurors were too overwhelmed by the evidence presented to reach a verdict. The mistrial, after four months in court and 22 days of deliberations, hints at a much deeper problem: Perhaps most financial crime has simply reached a level of such complexity that it's beyond the reach of the law.
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UPS agrees to pay $4M to settle late-delivery probe

October 21, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Indiana is set to receive a portion of a $4 million settlement with UPS Inc. following allegations that the shipping company overcharged government customers in 14 states.
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Trial courts saw 1.3M new cases in 2014

October 21, 2015
IL Staff
More than 1.3 million new cases were filed in Indiana trial courts last year, according to the Indiana Judicial Service report released Wednesday. The report details court operations at the county and appellate level for calendar year 2014.
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DCS 'became the abusers'

October 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
A jury has awarded $31.3 million in an "arbitrary and capricious" case against parents in their child's death.
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Trust and the troubled child

October 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
Estate planning attorneys occasionally draw the strong-willed client who wants to leave money to an heir – but only if the kid sobers up, quits getting in trouble with the law, gets a job, stops living beyond his means, or changes behavior in some other way.
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Damages dispute against Zimmer Biomet subsidiary headed to SCOTUS

October 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A wholly owned subsidiary of Zimmer Biomet in Warsaw, Indiana, will be arguing it should not have to pay about $248 million in a patent infringement case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Prosecutor testifies in disciplinary hearing over Camm book deal

October 20, 2015
 Associated Press
An attorney who led the prosecution against a former Indiana State trooper acquitted of killing his wife and two children says a requested ethics investigation was a tactic to get him off the case.
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  4. 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.

  5. 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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