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School bus drivers can’t sue school corporation for collusion

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The lawsuit for collusion brought by 13 North Gibson School Corporation bus drivers against the school corporation as a result of bids for a transportation services contract failed on interlocutory appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Bus Corp. was awarded two contracts with the school corporation, which would cover bus transportation from 2011 to 2015.  The school corporation then scheduled “negotiation sessions” with individual drivers who wanted to renew or acquire a contract for their respective routes. Thirteen of the drivers sued the school corporation based on how the negotiation sessions were carried out – using a “reverse auction” process. The drivers were presented with a contract at a reduced price resulting from the “reverse auction” and told by the school corporation’s representative that if the contracts at the stated daily rates weren’t executed by a certain date, the school corporation would award the contract to the next lowest bidder – Bus Corp.

The drivers alleged collusion in their suit and sought compensatory damages under the Indiana Antitrust Act. The school corporation tried to have the suit dismissed, but the trial judge denied the motion.

On interlocutory appeal, the COA reversed. The drivers, as unsuccessful bidders, don’t have a private right of action against the school corporation, even if they allege collusion, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb. The school corporation also can’t be held liable for damages under the Indiana Antitrust Act. The appellate court cited Brownsburg Cmty. Sch. Corp. v. Natare Corp., 824 N.E.2d 336 (Ind. 2005), reading that decision to mean that governmental entities can’t be liable for actions prohibited by the Indiana Antitrust Act. That Act provides a cause of action for unsuccessful bidders against other bidders.

Robb pointed out that a suit against Bus Corp. may have been a better strategy. The drivers have no remedy against the school corporation.

The judges ordered the trial court to enter an order consistent with the appellate opinion.

 

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  1. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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