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New Castle denied appellate legal fees in frivolous suit

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A New Castle couple doesn’t have to pay the city’s appellate legal fees in its appeal of a frivolous litigation ruling, but they still must pay New Castle’s legal bills for the trial court filing.

Paul and Kathy Gillock sued the city of New Castle, claiming its storm-water drainage system caused flooding that damaged their property, but they didn’t pursue the litigation and ultimately moved to dismiss it.

Henry Circuit Senior Judge Rex Reed subsequently granted the city’s motion for attorney fees on the grounds the suit was frivolous, not made in good faith, and not prosecuted after filing. Reed ordered the Gillocks to pay New Castle $2,144.05 in legal fees.

The Gillocks appealed, and the city also asked for costs of defending the appellate suit, Paul Gillock and Kathy Gillock v. City of New Castle, Indiana, 33A01-1308-CT-338. A panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed Reed’s award of attorney fees, but concluded, “the Gillocks’ appeal was not utterly devoid of all plausibility, and therefore deny the City’s request for appellate attorney’s fees and costs.”

Judge Terry Crone rejected the city’s claim that because the original suit was deemed frivolous, the appeal is likewise without merit. “We cannot agree,” Crone wrote. “That would essentially bar all appeals of attorney’s fees awarded on such grounds. … Accordingly, we deny the City’s request for appellate attorney’s fees.”
 

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

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