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Lawsuit seeks impartial decision-maker in license plate dispute

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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.

The ALJ ruled in May that the state violated IYG’s specialty license plate contract when it issue a suspension of the plate last year without giving notice and the group a chance to correct any issues. On June 14, BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell issued an order of remand, which effectively reversed the ALJ’s decision, according to a release from the ACLU of Indiana.

“The BMV commissioner acting as the appellate and final authority over a decision that he, in effect, issued, violates the right to have an impartial decision maker in administrative adjudications and therefore violates the fundamental principle of due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director.

Mary Byrne, IYG executive director, thinks the BMV is being “vindictive,” according to the release. “The BMV had a chance to present its side at the administrative hearing, and they lost. The BMV simply does not want IYG to get its plate back, ever."

IYG provides support to youth that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

The ALJ also found that IYG’s actions didn’t constitute the sale of low-digit special plates, as several state senators alleged last year. Those senators sought termination of the group’s contract through the BMV.

The case is Indiana Youth Group Inc. v. R. Scott Waddell, 1:13-CV-981, which was filed in the Indianapolis Division of U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana.

 

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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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