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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers Thursday to cases involving what manner an appellate court could reverse a revocation of probation, how to calculate guardian ad litem fees, and whether there is a rebuttable presumption that children ages 7 through 14 can't be found contributorily negligent.

At issue in Cornelius Cooper v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0709-CR-780, is whether Cornelius Cooper's probation should have been revoked and by what manner the appellate court was authorized to reverse a revocation. A majority believed Cooper was denied due process as a fundamental error, allowing the appellate court to review his untimely appeal of the revocation order. Judge Nancy Vaidik, in her concurring result in a separate opinion, believed Cooper's appeal should have been reviewed under Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 2. Judge Vaidik also noted in her opinion the disagreement in the Court of Appeals on whether a probation revocation order is appealable under Post-Conviction Rule 2, but she believed that right existed.

In the issue of first impression in the case In re: The paternity of N.L.P., No. 45A03-0805-JV-226, the appellate court ruled on guardian ad litem fees and ruled a GAL must differentiate between attorney and non-legal work when billing in a paternity case. The trial court in the case reduced court-appointed GAL Jill Swope's fees from $34,800 to $20,000 but didn't explain why it chose to reduce the fees to $20,000. The Court of Appeals remanded for further analysis of the fees based on the appellate opinion, which instructed trial courts to consider guidelines set out in Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5 when deciding how to compensate for fees and expenses.

In Clay City Consolidated School Corp. v. Ronna Timberman and John Pipes II, No. 11A04-0802-CV-96, the Court of Appeals found a trial court committed reversible error in a suit against a school for the death of a student when it instructed a jury that Indiana law has a rebuttable presumption that children ages 7 through 14 can't be found contributorily negligent. Timberman and Pipes sued the school corporation after their 13-year-old son died during a basketball practice. He had fainted two days earlier during practice but hadn't seen a doctor before his next practice. His death was attributed to ventricular fibrillation. His parents sued under Indiana's Child Wrongful Death Statute and won $300,000 following an order on remittitur from the court reducing the damages.

Noting that the trial court "reopened the proverbial can of worms" with this issue, the appellate court examined Indiana caselaw to conclude that state law doesn't conclusively contain a presumption either in favor or against 7- to 14-year-olds with respect to whether they can be found liable for negligent acts. The trial court misstated Indiana law when it informed the jury that state law contains a rebuttable presumption that children between the ages of 7 and 14 can't be found contributorily negligent. The Court of Appeals remanded for a new trial.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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