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Law school hosts appellate hearings

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Law School News is Indiana Lawyer’s new section that will highlight news from law schools in Indiana. While we have always covered law school news and will continue to keep up with law school websites and press releases for updates, we’ll gladly accept submissions for this section from law students, professors, alums, and others who want to share law school-related news. If you’d like to submit news or a photo from an event, please send it to Rebecca Berfanger, rberfanger@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington recently hosted two appellate hearings at the law school’s moot court room.

The Indiana Court of Appeals visited the law school Oct. 4 as part of the court’s “Traveling Oral Argument” series while the Indiana Supreme Court visited in early September.

The appeal for Paul Arlton v. Dr. Gary Schraut, M.D., et al., No. 79A02-0906-CV–541, from Tippecanoe Circuit Court, involved three issues according to a program for the hearing that was on the court’s website: “whether the trial court abused its discretion when it: (1) did not admit into evidence enlarged photographic exhibits of the plaintiff’s retina, (2) did not provide the jury with means to access certain digital evidence, and (3) refused the plaintiff’s tendered jury instruction regarding the jury’s ability to access digital evidence.”

The case resulted from a 2002 treatment Paul Arlton received from Dr. Gary Schraut that caused a blind spot in Arlton’s central vision.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge John G. Baker, along with Judges Edward W. Najam Jr. and Paul D. Mathias heard the arguments and stayed afterward to answer questions from the law students.

On Sept. 10, the Indiana Supreme Court traveled to Bloomington to hear arguments in the case of a teenage girl who was injured by a golf ball while driving the beverage cart at a golf outing.

In Cassie E. Pfenning v. Joseph Lineman, et al., No. 27S02-1006-CV-331, Cassie Pfenning was 16 years old when she attended a golf scramble with her grandfather, Jerry Jones, to work a beverage golf cart. Jones ended up playing in the scramble so he left Pfenning in the care of his sister. The two were in the golf cart without a roof or windshield when Joseph Lineman’s golf ball flew more than 70 yards before hitting Pfenning in the mouth, causing severe injuries to her teeth, mouth, and jaw.

Indiana Court of Appeals Judges Carr Darden and Melissa May had affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, which included the club, promoters, and Pfenning’s grandfather, ruling that the defendants didn’t have a duty to protect the teen from injury; weren’t negligent in their supervision of her; and there wasn’t a breach of duty of reasonable care under premises liability. The majority also extended the definition of participants from Geiersbach v. Frieje, 807 N.E.2d 114 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), to include not only players, coaches, or players on the bench during the game, but also sporting event volunteers.

Judge James Kirsch had dissented because he believed that because Pfenning was on the property as a business invitee, the golf club had a duty of care; he also found her grandfather owed her a duty of reasonable care because she was entrusted into his care during the tournament. Judge Kirsch declined to extend the ruling in Geiersbach to include the facts of this case.

The Supreme Court had not handed down a decision at IL deadline.•
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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