District Courts

Birth certificate battle headed to 7th Circuit

January 24, 2017
IL Staff
Indiana’s battle over who can be listed on a birth certificate is headed for another round with the state filing an appeal of a federal court’s ruling that allows non-birth mothers to be listed on their children’s birth certificates.
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Barker rules ballot photo ban unconstitutional

January 24, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indiana law prohibiting voters from taking photos of their ballots for personal use is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment rights, a district court judge has decided.
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Lawsuit: Trump businesses violate Constitution

January 23, 2017
 Associated Press
A lawsuit Monday alleged that President Donald Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings. The suit was filed by a legal watchdog group, but the language of the clause is disputed by some legal scholars, setting the stage for a court fight with the White House.
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Southern Indiana courts see rise in heroin, meth sentences

January 16, 2017
 Associated Press
Recently released court statistics show a growing percentage of prisoners sentenced for federal drug crimes in southern Indiana are heroin offenders.
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Lilly shares rise after Alimta cancer drug patent upheld

January 13, 2017
 Bloomberg News
Eli Lilly and Co. won an appeals court ruling Thursday that upheld the validity of a patent for its lung cancer drug Alimta, helping shares rise by almost 3 percent.
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IU fraternity chapter suspended after hazing problems

January 10, 2017
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The governing body of Delta Tau Delta has suspended the charter for the fraternity's chapter at Indiana University Bloomington following problems with hazing. The fraternity also faces a lawsuit alleging sexual assault.
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Magistrate recommends dismissal of woman’s dog-mauling suit

January 10, 2017
Olivia Covington
Despite “horrendous injuries” incurred as a result of “a grievous lack of discretion” by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers, a district court magistrate recommends an Indianapolis woman’s federal claim against IMPD and the city of Indianapolis be dismissed because she did not state a legitimate constitutional claim.
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Sentencing hearing continues for Charleston church shooter

January 9, 2017
 Associated Press
Final testimony is expected as prosecutors wrap up their argument that Dylann Roof should be sentenced to death for the Charleston, South Carolina church shootings.
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Lake County sheriff's official pleads guilty to wire fraud

December 19, 2016
 Associated Press
The second-in-command at the Lake County Sheriff’s Department pleaded guilty to wire fraud Friday in a bribery case in which the sheriff and a tow truck operator also are charged.
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ACLU challenges Clarksville yard-inspection ordinance

December 13, 2016
Olivia Covington
A Clarksville resident is suing the southern Indiana town for entering her yard without her permission or warrant, an action she says violates her Fourth Amendment rights.
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ACLU suing Knightstown over illuminated cross display

December 12, 2016
 Associated Press
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a central Indiana town over the display of a cross as part of its Christmas decorations.
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Forest Alliance sues to stop Crown Hill cemetery project

December 8, 2016
Indianapolis Business Journal
The controversy over the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ plans to develop a military cemetery with a series of above-ground columbariums on 15 wooded acres north of Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis has ended up in court.
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7th Circuit rules Duke Energy must pay for wind-generated power

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision Tuesday requiring Duke Energy to pay for power generated by a local wind farm only if it passes to a lower grid, deciding instead that the energy company is contractually obligated to pay for any generated power regardless of transmission issues.
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New resource gives access to troves of data measures on district court judges’ orders

November 16, 2016
Dave Stafford
Litigation Analytics, a product of Bloomberg Law, will tell you how long, on average, a judge takes to rule in an employment matter, what firms frequently appear in his or her courtroom, and his or her appeal outcomes.
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Indianapolis federal courthouse gets national award

November 15, 2016
IL Staff
The Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse has received national recognition for a refurbishment project that ushered the infrastructure of the 100-year-old building into the 21st century while preserving the structure’s distinguished spirit.
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District court fees to increase Dec. 1

November 11, 2016
IL Staff
Several fees included on the U.S. District Court’s Miscellaneous Fee Schedule will soon increase after the Judicial Conference approved fee changes at its September 2016 session.
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Judge initially dismisses ticket broker suit against Colts

November 10, 2016
Olivia Covington
A district court has dismissed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Colts after deciding the team had the legal right not to renew an out-of-state ticket broker’s season tickets, but the court left the case open for further action by inviting the broker to file an amended claim on stronger legal ground.
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Ong still has path to Southern District seat

November 9, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
With Republicans set to control the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the fate of Indiana’s judicial nominees to the federal bench is even more uncertain, but one court-watcher believes Winfield Ong might be confirmed.
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Judge to hear bid to block Indiana abortion ultrasound law

November 9, 2016
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A federal judge is set to hear arguments in Planned Parenthood’s bid to block a new Indiana mandate that women undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion.
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Plaintiffs in Carmel class-action traffic lawsuit file appeal

November 7, 2016
Lindsey Erdody, Indianapolis Business Journal
The plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit filed against the city of Carmel for its enforcement of a local traffic ordinance are appealing the dismissal of the case in early October.
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Child porn accuser drops lawsuit against ex-Subway pitchman

October 21, 2016
 Associated Press
The family of a girl who accused Jared Fogle in a child pornography case that led to the former Subway pitchman's imprisonment is dropping a lawsuit against him.
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Judge limits expert testimony in Simon antitrust suit

October 20, 2016
Dave Stafford

Expert witnesses for Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and a competing shopping center developer will be barred from testifying on certain subjects in an antitrust lawsuit against Simon, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

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Victims to collect money soon in Veros case

October 19, 2016
Jared Council
Efforts to clean up what the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged was an $8.6 million Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Indianapolis-based Veros Partners Inc. are entering their final stages, with all but one defendant having reached a settlement and the company’s receiver preparing to make his first distribution to affected investors.
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Pence mum on continuing anti-Syrian refugee fight gubernatorial candidates reject

October 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
Gov. Mike Pence’s fight to keep Syrian refugees out of Indiana may continue — as his term is expiring, he hasn’t said whether he will appeal federal court rulings that his position is discriminatory. Nevertheless, the candidates vying to succeed him as governor oppose the stance he’s unsuccessfully fought for.
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Judge: Give Florida voters chance to fix vote-by-mail ballots

October 17, 2016
 Associated Press
Calling the state's current law "illogical" and "bizarre," a federal judge late Sunday ordered the state of Florida to give thousands of voters a chance to make sure their vote-by-mail ballots are counted.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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