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Technical difficulties snag high-profile appeal arguments

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After a hiccup in the state judiciary’s online access to oral arguments, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Baker borrowed some words from television broadcasters of the past: “Please stand by.”

Responding to technical difficulties that prevented a high-profile appeal from being listed on the online calendar and then from being viewed live Monday afternoon, the chief judge assured the public and legal community that webcast arguments should be working fine now after the issues surfaced earlier in the week.

A three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel heard arguments Monday in Paula Brattain, et al. v. Richmond State Hospital, et al., No. 49A02-0908-CV-718, which involves a class action suit where Marion Superior Judge John Hanley last year ordered the state to pay $42.4 million in back pay to past and present state employees. The state is appealing that judgment, believed to be the largest ever class action judgment against the state.

But the state judiciary didn’t list that argument in its online calendar. Later, technical difficulties led to the arguments not being broadcast live Monday afternoon.

Finding out about the issues, Chief Judge Baker released a statement that was posted on the judiciary’s website today, noting that the oral argument was “inadvertently not Web cast simultaneously with the argument.”

His explanation notes that the court’s webcasting equipment failed and had to be reconfigured, and that the IT staff resolved those issues. The system should permit real-time viewing for all future webcasts, the chief judge said. The entry for Brattain can be found online.

“The Web casting effort attempts to integrate new-age technology and centuries-old legal tradition,” Chief Judge Baker said. “The Court is striving to provide the public with opportunities to witness fine appellate advocacy and provide a better understanding of the role of courts of review within the judicial system.”
 

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