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Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work

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A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012.

Lake Circuit Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state constitution by forcing unions to provide services to workers without payment. He wrote in his July 17 ruling that the law was immediately "null and void". Paras determined that the state interjected itself into a federal requirement that unions represent all workers -- whether they pay union fees or not -- when it established criminal penalties for violating the right-to-work law.

The United Steelworkers, which lobbied unsuccessfully against the law in 2011 and 2012, filed the suit against the state.

Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to ban unions from charging mandatory fees for representation in February 2012; later that year, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder rushed through legislation making Michigan the 24th state to ban the fees. Indiana's extensive battle on the issue drew thousands of protesters to the Statehouse between 2011 and 2012.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Wednesday he would appeal and seek an immediate stay of the ruling.

"Strong opinions exist on both sides about involuntary union dues, but the Attorney General's Office has a duty to defend the laws the Legislature passes," Zoeller said in a statement Wednesday.

Lake Superior Judge John Sedia judge struck down the law last fall in a separate case, but stayed it from taking effect. That case is now being considered by the Indiana Supreme Court.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, representing northwest Indiana, filed the suit being considered by the state's high court and praised the decision in the sister lawsuit Wednesday.

"We applaud the decision of the Court and congratulate the Steelworkers on successfully dealing another blow to Indiana's ill-conceived 'right to work' law," IUOE Local 150 president-business manager James M. Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday evening.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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