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Supreme Court denies Star appeal in online commenter case

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday denied transfer in The Indianapolis Star’s appeal of an order that it identify a person who posted an anonymous online comment that has been included in a defamation suit.

The order had been temporarily stayed in Jeffrey M. Miller, et al. v. Junior Achievement, et al., 49A02-1211-PL-898. A divided Court of Appeals panel last week dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to intervene. In its two-page order, Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the court, “Jurisdiction, to the extent it exists in this matter, remains with the Court of Appeals.”

Star attorney and Barnes & Thornburg partner Jan Carroll said in an email the court’s order means “we have to await the Court of Appeals ruling on the petition for rehearing.”

Meantime, Miller’s attorney, Betz & Blevins partner Kevin Betz, said stays that had been issued and extended to prevent enforcement of a trial court subpoena requiring the Star to identify the commenter have expired.

“At this point, The Indianapolis Star, we believe, is in contempt of the subpoena,” Betz said Friday.  

Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid ordered that the Star disclose to Miller the identity of a commenter on its website whose screen name was DownWithTheColts, and the Star appealed.

Miller, former CEO of Junior Achievement of Indiana, sued multiple parties for defamation and sought to add people, including DownWithTheColts, who made anonymous comments on news organization websites that ran stories about Miller and J.A.


 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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