Justices order hearing on whether to temporarily admit out-of-state lawyers

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A Lake County court erred when it relied on a local rule to determine that five out-of-state attorneys should not be granted pro hac vice admission because the party seeking their admission could potentially hire capable Indiana attorneys to provide the franchise law work, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a three-page per curiam opinion, YTC Dream Homes, Inc., et al. v. DirectBuy, Inc., et al., 45S03-1505-PL-264, the justices reversed the denial of YTC Dream Homes Inc.’s motion requesting temporary admission of the five attorneys to represent YTC in its contract-related action against Franchisor DirectBuy Inc. and other parties.

The trial court ultimately decided not to allow their admission, even though the five attorneys were qualified and in good standing in their respective states, based in part on Lake County Local Rule 5(C). That rule, according to the judge, has a presumption that “an attorney not licensed in Indiana is not permitted to practice before it . . .” The judge also noted that YTC could find capable attorneys in Indiana to represent it.

The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, ordering the trial court to grant the attorneys’ petition for temporary admission. The justices agreed, remanding with instructions to determine whether good cause exists to admit the attorneys.

“As the trial court correctly recognized, ‘temporary admission of an out-of-state lawyer pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2) is within the discretion of the trial court.’ We agree with the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that Local Rule 5(C) does not create a presumption against
pro hac vice admissions. The local rule cannot vitiate the trial court’s discretion to find good cause for temporary admission under Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2),” the Supreme Court opinion states.

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