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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. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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