Courts

High court rejects terror victims’ claims against Chiquita

April 20, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected an appeal from relatives of thousands of victims of a guerrilla conflict in Colombia who want to sue Chiquita Brand International in U.S. courts.
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Racial retaliation claim against mover proceeds to trial

April 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A moving company that allegedly permitted an environment of open racial hostility toward two African-American employees must face a jury on a complaint alleging discriminatory retaliation, a federal judge has ruled.
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Landscaper’s attorney fails to explain fee

April 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A landscaping company’s award for attorney fees has been sent back to small claims court for reconsideration after the business and the attorney failed to submit documentation supporting the fee amount.
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Judgment for Planned Parenthood stands, but not for minor’s ID provider

April 17, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman who gave her son’s 17-year-old girlfriend another person's ID and posed as her mother to help her obtain an abortion was not properly dismissed from a lawsuit brought by the pregnant girl’s mother, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana was proper, the court held.
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Chief Justice John Roberts not picked for jury duty

April 16, 2015
 Bloomberg News
It doesn't matter how high up you are: You'll still get called for jury duty.
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Court skeptical of challenge to Obama's climate change plan

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Two out of three judges on a federal appeals court panel are expressing doubts about a legal challenge to the Obama administration's far-reaching plan to address climate change.
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Court must consider man’s self-defense claim at new bail hearing

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant accused of murder must be allowed to present evidence and witnesses at a bail hearing in an endeavor to rebut the state's burden that the defendant likely committed murder, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. Since that did not happen in James Satterfield's case, the judges remanded the matter for further proceedings.
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Judges order home invasion sentence lowered

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that a defendant who broke in to an elderly couple's home and beat the husband would have received a lesser sentence if he had actually killed the victim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered Jeffrey Hunt's 120-year sentence revised.
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Judge lets amputee's lawsuit against Indiana sheriff continue

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has greenlighted a federal lawsuit brought against a central Indiana jail by an amputee who fell from an upper bunk and was injured when he damaged his prosthetic leg.
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Councilors allegedly offered millions in projects for justice center votes

April 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis City-County Council Chief Financial Officer Bart Brown said councilors have told him they’ve been offered up to $50 million in projects spread among five districts if they vote to approve the proposed $1.6 billion criminal justice complex.
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Sewer company entitled to attorney fees over frivolous appeal

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Three people required to connect their properties to a not-for-profit sewer company – who later were held in contempt for not doing so – must pay appellate attorney fees to the sewer company because the individuals sought to re-litigate the judgments instead of challenge the contempt orders.
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7th Circuit: No plain error in not applying 'safety valve' in sentencing

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Whether firearms belonging to co-conspirators in a drug ring attributed to a defendant for purposes of the firearm sentence enhancement can be considered for a two-level reduction in her offense level under the so-called “safety valve” for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders is a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the judges declined to address the issue because the woman failed to raise it at sentencing.
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Records: Ex-IPFW chancellor, Purdue settled suit for $52,500

April 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Documents say Purdue University paid $52,500 to a former Fort Wayne campus chancellor in a settlement over an age discrimination lawsuit.
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Murderer’s writ for relief denied by 7th Circuit

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
For the fourth time, a northern Indiana man’s appeal of his death sentence for four murders has come before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. This time, the judges affirmed the denial of his writ for habeas corpus.
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Denial of expungement of child neglect case upheld by judges

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A woman seeking to expunge a substantiated report of child neglect in order to keep her job as a cook at a child care provider did not meet the necessary statutory requirements to grant the expungement, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday in a case of first impression.
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Man’s challenges to admonition waived because he did not object at trial

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man convicted of battering and strangling his daughter's boyfriend did not object to an admonition given to the jury over statements made during his testimony, so he waived appellate review of his arguments, the Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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COA affirms Evansville police officer’s firing for grabbing teen’s crotch

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A longtime Evansville police officer who was fired for rule violations after he grabbed a teen’s crotch at a school where the officer also worked as a security officer lost the appeal of his termination before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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New concussions deal with NCAA proposed

April 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Filings in U.S. District Court in Chicago late Tuesday night notified a federal judge that there was a new proposed settlement for a head injury lawsuit against the NCAA brought by football players and other college athletes.
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Judge asks public to help care for kids affected by heroin

April 15, 2015
 Associated Press
A juvenile court judge is asking Marion County residents to help support local children whose parents are addicted to heroin.
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Council committee shoots down plan for Indy justice center

April 15, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, Kathleen McLaughlin
Mayor Greg Ballard's $1.6 billion justice center project suffered what could be a fatal blow in an Indianapolis City-County Council committee Tuesday night.
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Court upholds sentence but orders judgment corrected

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man sentenced for rape and other crimes in 1989 sought to have his sentence corrected nearly 25 years later, but the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that the sentence imposed did not need revised.
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COA rules in favor of previous site owner in environmental contamination suit

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A company seeking to recover environmental cleanup costs of a commercial real estate site from a previous owner who operated a film processing company failed to prove that the previous owner caused or contributed to the site's contamination, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday.
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COA: Company sought to prevent competition, not protect trade secret

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of a directed verdict in favor of the defendants in a lawsuit alleging they divulged confidential information and trade secrets after departing a computer systems company and began working for a competitor.
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Purdue spent $320K fighting discrimination lawsuits

April 14, 2015
 Associated Press
Purdue University spent more than $320,000 in legal fees battling state and federal lawsuits filed by the former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
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COA agrees lawsuit may continue in Indiana under Journey’s Account Statute

April 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a plaintiff in a lawsuit stemming from a car accident in Indiana used bad judgment when he filed the suit in federal court in Illinois, where he lives, there was no error by a Tippecanoe County court to allow the lawsuit to later proceed when filed there based on the Journey’s Account Statute, ruled the Court of Appeals.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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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