U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

SCOTUS asked to take Indiana stun belt case

March 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States is being asked to consider an Indiana case about a convicted murderer’s claim that he was improperly restrained with a stun belt during his trial and that led to a wrongful conviction.
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No bankruptcy abuse by ex-mayor

March 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Reversing her earlier decision, U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Nancy Gargula in the Northern District of Indiana determined March 7 that former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick’s income is not too high to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and his filing should not be considered to be an abuse of the process.
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Trustee: Pastrick's bankruptcy not an abuse

March 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Reversing her decision from a month ago, a federal trustee has determined that former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick’s income is not too high to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and his filing should not be considered to be an abuse of the process.
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7th Circuit agrees crack cocaine offender's sentence can't be reduced

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an issue involving crack cocaine sentencing Tuesday – whether a defendant sentenced under the career offender guideline, but with a downward departure for substantial assistance, is eligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2).
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Hammond District court closed Thursday

February 3, 2011
IL Staff
The Clerk’s Office and Hammond District Court in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana remain closed Thursday due to weather conditions.
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Many courts shut down due to weather

February 2, 2011
IL Staff
Several courts around the state are closed today after heavy snow and ice hit Indiana this week. The weather has even caused the Indiana General Assembly to postpone hearings for a second day.
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Indiana has received 14 multidistrict litigation actions over four decades

February 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
It began with a mid-air plane collision over Shelby County in 1969. That deadly aviation action symbolized Indiana’s introduction to multidistrict litigation.
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Some District Courts closed due to weather

February 1, 2011
IL Staff
Some of the federal courts in both of Indiana’s districts are closed because of the inclement weather.
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Lawsuit challenges free-expression restriction at airport

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Fort Wayne man is suing the Allen County Airport Authority because he claims a recently enacted resolution severely restricts his ability to protest the new screening procedures implemented by the Transportation Security Administration.
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Judges order consideration of discovery demands

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a Northern Indiana District Court to reconsider a German company’s discovery demands made in relation to a lawsuit pending in Germany over the alleged theft of trade secrets.
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Magistrate judge up for reappointment

January 20, 2011
IL Staff
The term of Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana will expire this year and the District Court is seeking comment on whether the magistrate judge should be reappointed.
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State urges SCOTUS to deny judicial canons case

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a brief with the nation’s highest court, urging the justices to not hear a case about whether Indiana’s judicial canons constitutionally infringe on the free speech rights of those on or vying for seats on the bench.
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3 judges dissent on rehearing denial in stun belt case

January 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to not rehear an Indiana case about a convicted murder’s ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims relating to a stun belt used in court, though three judges disagreed and felt the northern Indiana federal judge’s decision should be upheld.
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Bankruptcy delays collection effort

January 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick has filed for bankruptcy, putting on hold the state’s attempt to seize his property to help pay off the $108 million he owes from a civil racketeering default judgment against him.
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7th Circuit first to decide on resentencing, procedural rule issue

January 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled on an issue that hasn’t been addressed by any of its counterparts nationwide, finding that sentencing guidelines revised three years ago still only give District judges one chance to modify penalties based on a federal criminal rule of procedure.
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South Bend federal judge rules on FedEx class action litigation

December 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in South Bend has issued a significant 182-page opinion that holds FedEx drivers nationwide are independent contractors rather than employees entitled to back pay and full benefits.
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7th Circuit order changes wording in public-records opinion

December 9, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
In an order dated Wednesday and posted on the website for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today, a Nov. 29 opinion from that court was amended following a motion filed by the defendants on Dec. 2 to delete a reference to the defendants as “silly” and “unprofessional.”
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Circuit Court reverses stay on producing public records

November 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana District Court was wrong in granting a Wisconsin city’s motion for a stay, which allowed the city to withhold public records from the bank suing it for violating securities law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded today. The issue was whether the order issued by a state court for the city to produce the documents could be stayed by federal law because the request constituted discovery proceedings.
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Judge denies summary judgment in legal malpractice suit

November 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge denied summary judgment for an attorney and his law firm on legal malpractice and other claims, ruling the defendants failed to present a coherent argument to support summary judgment.
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Northern District Local Rules amended

November 11, 2010
IL Staff
Four local rules have been amended in the U.S. District Court of Indiana, Northern District. Changes have been made to Local Rule 7.1, Motion Practice; Length and Form of Briefs; L.R. 56.1 Summary Judgment Procedure; L.R. 200.1, Bankruptcy Cases and Proceedings; and Appendix C, Notice to Pro Se Litigant.
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New federal judge sworn in, robed

November 10, 2010
IL Staff
U.S. Judge Jon DeGuilio took his oath and was officially sworn in Oct. 29 as the newest member of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, where he’ll preside in the South Bend division.
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SCOTUS reverses 7th Circuit a second time on capital case

November 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana case has prompted the nation’s highest court to reiterate that federal courts can’t issue any writ of habeas corpus to state prisoners whose confinements do not violate U.S. law.
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Judge cautions about filing frivolous suits

October 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A Northern District judge has warned two litigants that if they keep filing frivolous lawsuits they may be fined, sanctioned, or restricted.
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Judge DeGuilio to be officially sworn in Oct. 29

October 18, 2010
IL Staff
The state’s newest judge in the Northern District of Indiana will be formally sworn in Oct. 29 at the Robert A. Grant Federal Building and Courthouse in South Bend.
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SCOTUS rejects two Indiana cases

October 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to get involved in two appeals out of Indiana, upholding federal or state rulings on both cases.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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