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Sidebars: Fort Wayne eatery provides tasty respite from depositions

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SidebarsSo often we get the question about representing people who have been accused of a crime (and often the question comes with a sneered-up nose as if the person asking just smelled something bad). This proverbial cocktail party question comes from our fellow sisters and brothers of the bar as well as lay persons. Well, my standard answer sometimes surprises people – the circumstance is more often than not just plain sad. People come to us with legal problems that often are deeper than just whether they broke the law. There often is some sort of pathology that led them to be in a criminal predicament that we try to identify so they will not reoffend or so that they can understand how to play by the rules. Recently, Jim Voyles, Bill McCallister (our private investigator) and I were in Fort Wayne on such a case. We were taking depositions all day so when we broke for lunch, we needed a break for lunch.

Around the corner from the courthouse and down the street from the jail, we found Don Hall’s Old Gas House. Don Hall restaurants litter the Fort Wayne area and have one location I could find in Indianapolis. The Gas House offers a wide variety of starters, salads, sandwiches and entrées on their lunch menu in a not too formal, but not too casual atmosphere. The dark wood gave it almost a hunting lodge feel. In the summer they have a deck along the bank of the St. Mary’s River for dining and drinking.

They offered a handful of starter salads from a basic Caesar salad to the asparagus salad which had hearts of palm, artichokes, and red peppers with balsamic vinaigrette. For other starters, they serve up a terrific shrimp and sausage gumbo, sesame-seared Yellowfin tuna with a ginger noodle salad and wasabi, the classic hot chicken wings or spinach and artichoke dip with crispy, fried pita bread.

For entrées, the salads were enticing and creative. The pecan-crusted chicken salad which has bleu cheese, candied pecans, tomato, dried cherries, and pecan-crusted chicken with raspberry vinaigrette was under strong consideration, but Bill ultimately went with the grilled pear salad which had crumbled bacon, roasted walnuts, goat cheese with black currant vinaigrette. Bill was impressed enough that he didn’t chat much during lunch, which is a big feat. Jim opted for the Gas House Greek salad, which was really a starter salad. He was not impressed because of the beets, which he obviously did not see were described as being on the salad. He proceeded to pick out the “yucky stuff” as he called it, but ultimately he was able to finish his meal.

I had more difficulty but finally picked the daily $8 lunch special which on Tuesday was lasagna with garlic bread (the latter of which was particularly good). The lasagna was actually really good, and it came with a cup of soup or salad. That is how I claim personal knowledge of the gumbo being excellent. They also had small plate lunch for $9 which allows you to choose one of the starter salads or a bowl of soup paired with a choice of other items. Those choices were Yellowfin tuna, crab cake, blackened shrimp, three filet mignon sliders, petite Reuben or petite chicken club.

The Old Gas House’s menu offers many burger choices and sandwich choices, including vegetarian selections. Finally, there were actual dinner plate offerings that included prime rib ($11), filet mignon ($14), and jumbo fried shrimp ($10), which comes with coleslaw and fries.

The Old Gas House was a nice respite from a very long day of depositions that involved a very sad case that so often is part of our jobs as litigators of those who have disputes, problems or a moral compass that just doesn’t point north. I would recommend the Old Gas House even if you are not dealing with a tough case, and I give it 3 gavels! It is located at 305 E. Superior Street in Fort Wayne.•

__________

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Both enjoy a good meal with colleagues and friends, and their Sidebars column reviews and rates eateries lawyers may enjoy visiting when working at courthouses throughout Indiana. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.

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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.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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