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Suit alleging unconstitutional school fees fails in COA

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A Marion County mother who sought damages for having to pay certain fees for her children to attend public school lost her appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday. The judges agreed with the lower court that the state constitution does not permit her claim for monetary damages.

Linda McIntire’s children attended Franklin Township High School, where miscellaneous fees were charged for each student, including a $1.50 locker fee, a $2 activity fee and a textbook rental fee. She paid these fees, but then filed a lawsuit, alleging they were impermissible under the Education Clause in Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution.

McIntire sought an injunction preventing the school corporation from collecting the fees and sought the return of the fees already paid. The school corporation sought summary judgment, arguing that McIntire did not comply with the notice provisions of the Indiana Tort Claims Act and that the Education Clause doesn’t provide her with a cause of action for monetary damages.

The trial court agreed with the school corporation and granted it summary judgment.

In Linda D. McIntire, and those similarly situated v. Franklin Township Community School Corporation, 49A02-1401-PL-2, the Court of Appeals concluded the trial court erred in finding her complaint was barred because she did not comply with the notice requirements of the ITCA. Citing Hoagland v. Franklin Township Community School Corp., 10 N.E.3d 1034 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), the judges pointed out McIntire’s lawsuit was not based on an injury to or death of a person, or damages to property. As such, it is not a “loss” as defined by the ITCA.

Lora Hoagland sued the same school corporation after it began charging students to ride the bus to and from school. The school corporation stopped the practice before the lawsuit made it before the appeals court.

In McIntire, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court on the constitutional issue. Her claim is also not based on a contract, as McIntire claimed, but instead argues the actions of the school corporation in charging the fees were unconstitutional. She is alleging a direct violation of the Education Clause, but the COA explicitly held in Hoagland that there can be no claim for monetary damages arising out of the Indiana Constitution.  

Hoagland is currently pending transfer before the Indiana Supreme Court.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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