ILNews

Supreme Court takes Fireman's Rule case

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer today to case involving the Indiana Fireman's Rule and whether a policeman's suit against an Indianapolis strip club is barred by the rule.
 
In Babes Showclub, Jaba Inc. and James B. Altman v. Patrick and Lisa Lair, No. 49A05-0805-CV-262, the trial court denied Babes' motion to dismiss Patrick and Lisa Lair's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The club argued the complaint should be dismissed because Patrick, a police officer, was subject to the Indiana Fireman's Rule.
 
Patrick was injured by an alleged underage patron while responding to a complaint on the club's premises, and he and his wife filed suit based on negligence and common law dram shop claims.

The Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the denial of the club's motion to dismiss the complaint, basing its decision on Woodruff v. Bowen, 136 Ind. 431, 34 N.E. 1113 (1893), in which it was decided that a landowner owes no duty to a firefighter except when committing a positive wrongful act that may result in injury. Over the years, the Fireman's Rule has been expanded to other professionals, including police officers. Because the Lairs didn't allege the club committed any positive wrongful act, their general negligence, negligent security, and common law dram shop claims are barred by the Fireman's Rule.

In granting transfer to the case, it will be the first time in 14 years the Supreme Court has revisited the Fireman's Rule. Prior to granting transfer to this case, more than a century had passed before the high court ruled on this issue in Heck v. Robey, 659 N.E.2d 498 (Ind. 1995).

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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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