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Indiana adoption advocates to push again to open up records

December 31, 2015
 Associated Press
The leader of an advocacy group for Indiana adoptees says she's optimistic state lawmakers will endorse a bill to expand adoptees' access to sealed records.
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Judge temporarily blocks law barring workers from office

December 31, 2015
 Associated Press
A Lake County judge has temporarily blocked a state law that bars five municipal employees from holding elected office in the same city or town.
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Notre Dame to add tax clinic to curriculum

December 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Notre Dame Law School is preparing to launch a tax clinic to assist low-income and immigrant families in northern Indiana.
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Evansville law firm to pay for free cab rides New Year's Eve

December 31, 2015
 Associated Press
An Evansville law firm will be paying for New Year's cab rides home for the 18th year in a row.
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Facebook’s suit against Ceglia lawyers thrown out on appeal

December 30, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Facebook Inc.’s malicious-prosecution lawsuit against lawyers and firms that represented Paul Ceglia in his claim to own half the social media giant was thrown out on appeal.
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County scores partial victory on mall assessments

December 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County assessor, who argued the values assigned to Washington Square mall for 2006-2010 were too low, will see an uptick in the assessed value of the mall in three of those years following a ruling from the Indiana Tax Court.
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Donnelly hopeful Indiana’s federal court vacancies will be filled soon

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
With U.S. District Judge Robert Miller Jr. preparing to take senior status in January, Indiana will have three judicial vacancies to fill on the federal bench.
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Judge grants extensions Pence sought in Syrian refugee case

December 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
A federal judge has granted extensions the administration of Gov. Mike Pence sought as it continues to oppose a charity’s resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana. The ACLU of Indiana, meanwhile, calls discovery demands the state has directed at the nonprofit agency “breathtaking.”
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Man did not provide enough evidence to support lower home valuations

December 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A homeowner seeking to reduce the valuation of his residential properties did not provide enough evidence to the Indiana Board of Tax Review to support his argument, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Wednesday in two separate appeals.
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Court sua sponte reverses 5 convictions

December 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a man convicted in a brutal attack on his grandmother lost his arguments on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals sua sponte reversed five of his six convictions stemming from the attack for double jeopardy reasons.
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COA: Termination hearing did not comply with Open Door Law

December 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a southern Indiana school board after finding its holding of a public meeting at 2:30 a.m. regarding the employment of a teacher violated the Open Door Law.
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Retiring federal Judge Robert Miller Jr. praised for legal analysis and temperament

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
With the exception of the year Judge Robert Miller Jr. spent clerking for the late U.S. District Judge Robert Grant, he has spent his entire working life wielding a gavel. He served for 11 years in St. Joseph Superior Court before his appointment to the federal bench.
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House party hosts face heightened liability after recent COA ruling

December 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
Just in time for holiday revelry and New Year’s Eve celebrations, an Indiana appeals court ruled hosts of house parties may be held liable for the well-being of guests who drink too much.
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Smoking ban dispute heads to Supreme Court

December 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court wants to hear more from Hoosier Park about why patrons at its Winner’s Circle off-track betting parlor in Indianapolis should be allowed to light up when smoking in public is otherwise generally banned by city ordinance.
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Indiana’s alcohol laws withstand court challenges

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Recent rulings from state and federal courts underscore that while Indiana’s alcohol laws may be silly, quirky and arcane, they are not so easily changed.
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2040 vision: Lawyers look at the future

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
As part of Indiana Lawyer’s commemoration of its silver anniversary this year, we asked a varied group of attorneys to look ahead to the year 2040. They outlined what they thought the profession would be like, how they hoped the profession would change, and what they did not want the profession to become.
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2015 Year in Review

December 30, 2015
IL Staff
Here are the highlights of what made headlines in the Indiana Lawyer in 2015.
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Bell/Whelan: 3 things to know about civility and discipline

December 30, 2015
James Bell, Jessica Whelan
As it turns out, acting in a civil manner is not just a way of being polite, or being a good advocate or a way to make the profession look good. In fact, being uncivil in and of itself can lead to disciplinary sanctions.
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Nelson: A look back … and to the profession’s future

December 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Birthdays, anniversaries, and a new year are good times for reflection and evaluation. That’s part of the reason we take a look back at the news we covered throughout the year in our last issue of the year and why we devoted stories each month in honor of our 25th anniversary in print.
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Column: Does Patchett v. Lee make patchwork of medical specials?

December 30, 2015
The Indiana Court of Appeals recently affirmed a ruling in Patchett v. Lee, 29A04-1501-CT-1 (Ind. Ct. App. Nov. 19, 2015), which held that government reimbursement rates are not an accurate reflection of the value of health care services, and thus are inadmissible as evidence of the reasonable value of medical services in personal-injury cases. The Patchett ruling signified a major shift in Indiana law on the determination of medical specials damages.
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DTCI: Where have all the jury trials gone?

December 30, 2015
Conceptually, attorneys (and especially perhaps members of organizations like DTCI and ITLA) embrace as inviolate the right to trial by jury. We cite the concept both as a goal and as the bedrock of our existence – and sometimes in responses opposing summary judgment motions. But the Indiana Supreme Court “2014 Indiana Judicial Service Report, Vol I: Judicial Year in Review” caused me to look more closely at how that right is being exercised as a practical matter.
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Carrying on an old family tradition

December 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
Cousins marking 25 years as lawyers are among quartet of Zappias practicing in St. Joseph County.
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Technology Untangled: New year means time for a new hard drive

December 30, 2015
Stephen Bour
The start of the new year is always a good time to clean up computer files. Hard drive maintenance is often something that goes unattended until it is too late. Today’s article will describe an instance where I took some of my own advice and replaced and upgraded a hard drive before it failed.
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Hammerle On… 'Chi-Raq'

December 30, 2015
Robert Hammerle
Bob Hammerle reviews "Chi-Raq" and also picks his top films of the year.
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Inmate wins $10,000 verdict against US for prison injury

December 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
A federal inmate who cut his forearm on a jagged bed frame won a $10,000 judgment in his lawsuit against the United States.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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