State agencies

Local law firm reaps $6.3M in fees from BMV class-action suit

November 20, 2013
Indianapolis Business Journal, Scott Olson
A local law firm will receive $6.3 million as part of a class-action lawsuit that accused the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles of overcharging for driver’s licenses.
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Judge denies Brizzi’s bid for gag order in malpractice suit

November 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge Tuesday denied former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi’s request for a gag order in the legal malpractice claim filed against him by defrocked Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White.
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Is a death certificate public information?

November 6, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Differing interpretations of statutory language puts the state of Indiana and the Court of Appeals at odds.
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Martinsville native named commissioner of state’s department of labor

November 4, 2013
IL Staff
A former general counsel in the Indiana Department of Labor has been appointed by Gov. Mike Pence to lead the agency.
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Judge sentences attorney Page to probation, fine

November 4, 2013
Cory Schouten
Attorney and real estate developer Paul J. Page will serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of a state-leased office building in Elkhart.
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Judges uphold penalties against man for falsifying unemployment benefit documents

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There is sufficient evidence to support the decision that a man must pay back unemployment benefits he used while working and that the man falsified information in order to receive those benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Zoeller moves to strike Ritz’s suit against Board of Education

October 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Attorney General Greg Zoeller Thursday asked a court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz against the Indiana Board of Education.
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Court upholds 2-year suspension of teacher’s license

October 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An administrative law judge in the Indiana Department of Education correctly imposed a two-year suspension of a special education teacher’s license, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The court found no error in the ALJ’s reliance on a California case when considering whether to revoke or suspend a teaching license.
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Trial court's suppression order binding to ethics commission

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
After turning to the Indiana State Ethics Commission when a trial court ordered the evidence in a theft case suppressed, the state was reminded it “does not get a second bite at the apple.”   
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Zoeller joins multi-state call for e-cigarette regulation

September 26, 2013
IL Staff
The Food and Drug Administration should restrict the sale and marketing of increasingly popular e-cigarettes, particularly to minors, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller advocates in joining a letter signed by AGs from 36 other states and three U.S. territories.
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Dispatcher fired after firecracker incident loses unemployment appeal

September 12, 2013
An appeals court panel Thursday affirmed denial of unemployment benefits for a Starke County sheriff’s dispatcher who took time off work after a firecracker exploded behind her at work and she was diagnosed with hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus.
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South Bend mayor: City leads ‘open-data’ effort

September 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said there were plenty of reasons the city decided to embrace an open-data policy, putting as many public records as possible online with a pioneering city website, Open Data South Bend.
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Ethanol plant emissions suit may be bound for Indiana Supreme Court

August 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s ethanol industry faces an uncertain regulatory environment and likely more stringent emissions standards after a recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling. A state agency will ask the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case, as several corn-to-fuel plant operators also are expected to do.
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Farm smells ignite debate but no consensus reached

August 28, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Before dinner can be prepared and served at the table, the food has to be raised on a farm. However, Old MacDonald’s Farm with its placid scenes of pigs and cows is a shrinking segment of American farming, being replaced with large industrial agricultural operations with hundreds and thousands of animals.
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Moratorium on administrative rules leads to uncertainty

August 28, 2013
Plews Shadley Racher & Braun attorney Amy Romig discusses the impact of a recent executive order which placed a moratorium on new administrative rules by state agencies.
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Teachers union could pay $14M to schools under settlement

August 13, 2013
Indianapolis Business Journal, J.K. Wall
The state’s largest teachers union and its national parent organization have agreed to pay $14 million under a tentative settlement announced Tuesday morning by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Securities Commissioner Chris Naylor.
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Ex-IURC leader’s criminal charges dropped

August 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
The former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission won’t face trial on felony charges stemming from an ethics scandal at the agency, a judge ruled Monday.
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BMV announces credits for overcharged motorists

July 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana motorists who overpaid for driver’s licenses over the past six years will get the money back in the form of a credit on their next transaction at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the agency announced Friday.
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Department of Correction to request funding for upgrades at 3 facilities

July 9, 2013
IL Staff
Proposed upgrades to three of the state’s correctional facilities will be among the items considered during Wednesday’s meeting of the Indiana State Budget Committee.
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BMV reduces license costs that generated class-action suit

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana driver’s licenses will be $3.50 less expensive, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced Friday in a change taking immediate effect.
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Judge: School corp.’s inattentiveness doesn’t support benefits reversal

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split Wednesday over whether a notice sent regarding a hearing on unemployment benefits required reversing the grant of benefits because the employer found the notice confusing.
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Low enrollment numbers in the Healthy Indiana Plan are questioned

June 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
As Indiana seeks federal approval to continue its Healthy Indiana Plan, a health insurance program for income-eligible uninsured Hoosiers, some state legislators are concerned enrollment in the program is not higher.
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Weinberger cases settle for $55M

June 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Hundreds of patients of a former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor serving a seven-year federal sentence for health-care fraud will be compensated for their medical malpractice claims through a $55 million settlement.
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Lawsuit seeks impartial decision-maker in license plate dispute

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Indiana Youth Group challenging the authority of the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles to issue an order of remand on its administrative law judge’s order to restore the LGBT youth group’s specialty license plate.
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ACLU of Indiana files class-action lawsuit against FSSA for changes to Medicaid waiver programs

June 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The ACLU of Indiana has slapped the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration with a class-action lawsuit over the way the state agency operates two of its Medicaid waiver programs.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. For some strange reason this story, like many on this ezine that question the powerful, seems to have been released in two formats. Prior format here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263 That observed, I must note that it is quite refreshing that denizens of the great unwashed (like me) can be allowed to openly question powerful elitists at ICE MILLER who are on the public dole like Selby. Kudos to those at this ezine who understand that they cannot be mere lapdogs to the powerful and corrupt, lest freedom bleed out. If you wonder why the Senator resisted Selby, consider reading the comments here for a theory: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263

  5. Why is it a crisis that people want to protect their rights themselves? The courts have a huge bias against people appearing on their own behalf and these judges and lawyers will face their maker one day and answer for their actions.

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