State agencies

Duke loses appeal of scandal-touched IURC rate case reversal

December 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s reversal and subsequent rejection of deferred accounting of $11.9 million for Duke Energy was affirmed by the Court of Appeals Friday in a case revisited because of an ethics scandal involving state regulators.
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Public interest in reducing poverty is grounds for application of doctrine of laches

December 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
In overturning a lower court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals opened the door for the doctrine of laches to be applied to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles by finding the suspension of a Bloomington woman’s driving privileges conflicts with the public’s interest in reducing poverty.
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Appeals court upholds Medicaid fraud charges

December 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
A woman charged with defrauding Indiana’s Medicaid program of nearly $350,000 lost the appeal of her partial motion to dismiss the charges.
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Sensient settles over use of 'popcorn lung' chemical

December 27, 2012
Scott Olson
Sensient Flavors LLC will pay a smaller fine in exchange for agreeing to reduce the amount of a chemical it uses at its Indianapolis plant, as part of a settlement it has reached with state regulators.
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Powers collide in utility rate case charged by ethics scandal

December 19, 2012
Dave Stafford
Undue influence is an undercurrent of Duke Energy v. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission case.
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Court split over valid ID requirement for name change

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday that the trial court erred when it required a valid driver’s license or state identification card as a prerequisite to grant a petition for a name change under Indiana Code 34-28-2, but split over whether an elderly man can change his name because he’s never had a valid state-issued ID.
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Indiana justices consider constitutional challenge to Choice Scholarship Program

December 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s test case for school vouchers could have implications for other states, legal observers said after the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that challenges the constitutionality of school vouchers.
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King Celebration to place special emphasis on community service

December 4, 2012
IL Staff
Two new activities promoting public service will be part of the 22nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration and Youth Summit.
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Fewer Hoosiers voted in 2012, tally shows

November 30, 2012
Dave Stafford
Fifty-eight percent of registered Indiana voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election – the same percentage as in 2004 but a decline from the 2008 vote, when 62 percent of Hoosiers voted.
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DCS study committee to hold last meeting Tuesday

November 26, 2012
IL Staff
The Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will meet for the last time Tuesday in the Indiana Government Center to consider bill drafts, a final report and “other business,” according to the committee agenda.
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Budget session will not prevent state senators from working to improve DCS

November 20, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Department of Child Services will be part of the legislative agenda during the Indiana General Assembly’s 2013 session. 
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BMV puts the brakes on enforcing uninsured motorist registry

November 5, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles agreed Monday to halt enforcement of the “Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry” and reinstate the driver’s licenses of thousands of Hoosiers.
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PCF may not present evidence to dispute injury

November 1, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that in a case involving a boy diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy, the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund may not present evidence to dispute the existence or cause of the boy’s injury while defending his petition for excess damages from the fund.
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Agency erred in adjusting experience account rates after merger

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered the Department of Workforce Development to reinstate the original contribution rates for unemployment insurance experience accounts of a parent company and its subsidiaries. The DWD should not have combined the accounts and adjusted the rates following a merger.
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AG seeks to suspend license of pharmaceutical maker linked to meningitis outbreak

October 26, 2012
IL Staff
Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Friday asked the Indiana Pharmacy Board to suspend the license of a Massachusetts company whose contaminated steroid injections are linked to 43 cases of fungal meningitis and three deaths in the state.
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State cannot enforce $1,000 cap on dental services for Medicaid recipients

September 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has left in place the preliminary injunction granted by Chief Judge Philip Simon last year that prevents the state from capping dental work for Medicaid recipients at $1,000 a year.
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Payne resigns as head of DCS

September 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
James W. Payne, the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services since 2004, submitted his resignation letter Monday to Gov. Mitch Daniels. The resignation comes after news reports raised questions about his involvement in DCS actions pertaining to his grandchildren.
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DCS launching pilot to address children with mental health issues

September 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of Child Services announced Monday that it will fund a two-month pilot program that will utilize local services to provide help for juveniles with mental health issues.
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Attorney general’s office will now represent DCS on appeal

September 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday afternoon that the attorney general’s office will take over appellate representation of the Department of Child Services. DCS currently utilizes attorneys of its choice in appellate matters.
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Proposed med mal complaint fee divides Court of Appeals

September 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a dissent from Judge Nancy Vaidik involving a proposed medical malpractice complaint filed with the Department of Insurance before filing fees were paid, Vaidik claimed Judge James Kirsch created a new test to determine whether a complaint is timely filed and shifted the burden of ensuring fees are paid to the Department of Insurance instead of the attorney. 
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Sept. 11, State Fair compensation expert Feinberg to speak

September 10, 2012
Dave Stafford
Attorney and victim compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg will speak Tuesday at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis about efforts to compensate victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that included an unsuccessful settlement offer.
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Court correctly ruled toxicology department audit results ‘irrelevant’

September 6, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Hamilton Superior Court properly denied a defendant’s attempt to elicit testimony concerning the reliability of toxicology test results from the Indiana Department of Toxicology dealing with an audit of tests performed by the department from 2007 to 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Judges: employee discharged for just cause

August 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the finding by an administrative law judge and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that an employee of a funeral home was fired for just cause.
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DCS admits petition flawed; COA orders more proceedings

August 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Gibson Circuit Court committed fundamental error in terminating the parental rights of a mother and father over their young child, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday. The Department of Child Services admitted that it failed to comply with statute when filing the petition to terminate their parental rights.
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State moves forward with IBM appeal

August 21, 2012
Dave Stafford
Attorneys for the state of Indiana have begun the formal appeal process after a Marion County court in July awarded a $52 million judgment to IBM over cancellation of the company’s contract to privatize social service claims processing.
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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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