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Some Lake civil cases go to random filing

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Attorneys opening new civil cases in Lake County should note that a new random filing system is being put in place, a plan described as the most extensive use of this in the county's history.

A caseload allocation plan submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court last fall took effect in January, meaning that various civil cases are starting this system.

Filings of miscellaneous civil and mortgage foreclosures began random filing Jan. 1, while civil plenary and civil torts begin April 1, Lake Superior Judge John Pera said.

This means that an attorney must initially file a case in Crown Point, and then that case will be randomly assigned to another location or retained in that central spot, Judge Pera said.

In Lake Superior's seven civil division courtrooms and one Circuit court, attorneys have traditionally been able to choose where they file their cases. Judge Pera said that practice has contributed to delays because of a hefty disparity among the courts' caseloads - such as only 60 mortgage foreclosures filed in East Chicago last year and more than 900 in one Crown Point courtroom alone.

Now, most of the courts are moving to this new system, which is already used in criminal courts to ensure a more balanced caseload within the courtrooms, Judge Pera said. Lake Superior Judge Elizabeth Tavitas, who primarily handles domestic relations and family cases, is exempt from those changes.

The judge points out that 85 percent or more civil cases are filed initially by mail, so this centralized filing method will cut delays.

Notices about the change are posted in the local county clerk's offices and are also being sent out from the courts to attorneys when pleadings are filed, Judge Pera said.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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