Legal News

Split COA affirms northern Indiana utility rate increase

June 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A northern Indiana utility company can increase its rates after a divided Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission followed the appropriate statutory guidelines in approving the rate hike.
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Treble damages upheld in stepmother’s conversion of safe deposit box funds

June 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a determination that a northern Indiana woman illegally converted the funds in the safe deposit box her husband shared with his adult children and that the children are entitled to treble damages.
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Court must revisit issue of prospective juror’s demeanor in Batson challenge

June 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Marion Superior Court must revisit the issue of whether a prospective juror’s body language made his dismissal appropriate after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Tuesday it would be inappropriate to credit the state’s assertion without findings that the dismissal was not based on race.
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High court strikes down extension of community caretaking role to non-vehicle searches

June 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a portion of an Indiana Court of Appeals opinion that extended the law enforcement community caretaker role beyond questions regarding seizures of a vehicle. The justices did affirm the man's cocaine conviction, however, finding his constitutional arguments failed. 

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Putnam County officer to be resentenced again for excessive use of force

June 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Putnam County law enforcement officer who used excessive force against compliant arrestees must return to district court for a second resentencing after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the district court, once again, failed to adequately justify its imposition of a below-guidelines sentence.
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Gary attorney arrested for allegedly stealing $80,000 from clients

June 19, 2017
IL Staff
A Gary attorney is being held in the Lake County Jail after she was arrested and charged with felony theft.
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Goff joining Indiana Supreme Court July 24

June 19, 2017
IL Staff
A temporary replacement for the judge of the Wabash Superior Court has been appointed as current Judge Christopher Goff prepares to step down from the trial court bench and transition to the Indiana Supreme Court next month.
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US high court curbs suits against companies in Plavix case

June 19, 2017
 Bloomberg News
The U.S. Supreme Court gave companies a new tool to defeat some legal claims, siding with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in a bid to limit a consumer lawsuit in California over its Plavix blood thinner.
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COA: County entities did not owe duty under foreseeability analysis

June 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
A southern Indiana county and its parks and recreation and health departments did not owe a duty to a man who contracted a deadly infection while at a county park, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday, reversing the denial of summary judgment to the governmental entities.
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SCOTUS takes on fight over partisan electoral maps

June 19, 2017
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States is taking on a case about partisan advantage in redistricting that could affect elections across the United States.
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Justices say law on offensive trademarks is unconstitutional

June 19, 2017
 Associated Press
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks, ruling in favor of an Asian-American rock band called the Slants and giving a major boost to the Washington Redskins in their separate legal fight over the team name.
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Justices deny transfer to malpractice suit against Barnes & Thornburg

June 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court will not consider the issue of whether Indiana’s largest law firm was properly granted summary judgment in a legal malpractice suit, denying transfer to a case that raised concerns about attorneys’ ability to indemnify themselves against malpractice allegations.
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Indiana woman wins prison release in fatal injection case

June 19, 2017
 Associated Press
A central Indiana woman who admitted giving her chronically ill mother a fatal injection of a painkiller has won release from prison.
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Train museum to file lawsuit against area authorities as Nickel Plate fight continues

June 16, 2017
Lindsey Erdody, Indianapolis Business Journal
The Indiana Transportation Museum announced Friday morning that it plans to file a federal lawsuit against area government entities and authorities in regards to their ongoing battle over the Nickel Plate Railroad.
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Suit alleging Kroger stores didn’t collect sales tax reverts to state court

June 16, 2017
Dave Stafford
A Fort Wayne attorney’s lawsuit alleging Kroger stores in Indiana have for years knowingly failed to collect and remit state sales tax on hundreds of non-exempt food items and other goods will be heard in state court after a judge denied the grocers' bid to transfer the suit to federal court.
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Arguments Thursday in drug case near park with no equipment

June 16, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on whether children were reasonably expected to be playing at a park with no playground equipment or trees, the central question that must be answered to determine if a man should be convicted of cooking meth within 500 feet of the park.
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Woman who sent texts urging suicide guilty of manslaughter

June 16, 2017
 Associated Press
A woman who sent her boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself when they were both teenagers was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter.
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Tax Court rules for State Revenue Department in assessment case

June 16, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Tax Court has granted summary judgment to the Indiana Department of State Revenue after finding the department’s proposed assessments of a northern Indiana heating equipment manufacturer were not void as a matter of law.
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7th Circuit orders new hearing in Marion County wrongful-detention suit

June 16, 2017
Olivia Covington
The issue of the certification of two subclasses of inmates who allege they were wrongfully detained for unconstitutional periods of time is back before a district court after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the court erred in initially denying class certification.
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Justices question teen's LWOP sentence at oral arguments

June 15, 2017
Olivia Covington
In Indiana, only five juveniles have been sentenced to life without parole. Now, the fate of the fifth juvenile rests with the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, who must decide whether the teen’s act of shooting and killing another 17-year-old rises to a level of offense that warrants spending the rest of his life behind bars.
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Judge faces legal quagmire in teen texting suicide trial

June 15, 2017
 Associated Press
A juvenile court judge now finds himself at the center of a legal quagmire: Should he set a legal precedent in Massachusetts by convicting young woman of manslaughter for encouraging another teen to take his own life through dozens of text messages? Or should he acquit her and risk sending a message that her behavior was less than criminal?
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New ISBA online attorney directory aims to help public find lawyers

June 15, 2017
IL Staff
In an effort to encourage members of the public to hire professional legal assistance rather than tackling their legal issues alone, the Indiana State Bar Association has launched a new electronic attorney directory, known as “You Need a Lawyer: ISBA Directory.”
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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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Judge hears arguments in suit challenging new Indiana abortion law

June 14, 2017
Olivia Covington
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky argued before a federal judge Tuesday that portions of the state’s new parental notice requirements are unconstitutional and place an undue burden on minors seeking abortions.
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ILS project aims to help tenants avoid eviction

June 14, 2017
IL Staff
Indiana Legal Services Inc. has launched a pilot program in Indianapolis specifically to help individuals and families facing eviction.
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  5. 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.

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