Fed Bar Update: Process is underway to fill vacancies on federal bench

FedBarMaley-sigMagistrate Judge William Hussmann ­- In the Southern District of Indiana, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann has announced his retirement effective January 31, 2016. Judge Hussmann has served the court and the public since his appointment in 1988, an extraordinary tenure spanning 27 years. Those who have appeared before him in court understand why he was a recipient of the Civility and Professionalism Award from the Indiana State Bar Association Litigation Section.

Applications for those seeking to fill Judge Hussmann’s upcoming vacancy were due in early July. A merit selection panel composed of attorneys and other members of the community will review all applicants and recommend to the District judges in confidence the five persons it considers best qualified.

Judge John Tinder – Separately, a display celebrating Judge John Daniel Tinder’s career has been installed in the main hall of the first floor of the United States Courthouse in Indianapolis. The display will be in place until Aug. 15. Judge Tinder has served on the 7th Circuit since 2007. He served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana from 1987 until his elevation, and prior to that, was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana (1984-1987). Judge Tinder took senior status earlier this year and has announced his retirement effective later this summer. He will be missed.

The vacancy from his seat has not yet been filled. Notably, the seat on the 7th Circuit held by Judge Terence Evans has been vacant since 2010.

Magna Carta Symposium – A “Symposium on the Magna Carta and Rule of Law” is scheduled for 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 in Federal Hall at Indiana State University. Formerly known as the United States Courthouse and Post Office in Terre Haute, Federal Hall features a large mural of King John signing the Magna Carta. Speakers include the honorable Loretta Rush, chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court; the honorable Jane E. Magnus-Stinson, United States District judge; United States Attorney Josh Minkler; former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan; two United States magistrate judges; and other notable legal professionals. A reception will be held after the event. To register to attend, email Brittany Bennett at [email protected]

Costs under Section 1332(b) – In diversity cases, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(b) provides the District Court with discretion to deny costs to plaintiff, and award costs to defendant, if the amount recovered is less than $75,000. The statute provides, “Except when express provision therefore is otherwise made in a statute of the United States, where the plaintiff who files the case originally in the Federal courts is finally adjudged to be entitled to recover less than the sum or value of $75,000, computed without regard to any setoff or counterclaim to which the defendant may be adjudged to be entitled, and exclusive of interest and costs, the district court may deny costs to the plaintiff and, in addition, may impose costs on the plaintiff.”

Case law is meager applying this statute. The statute’s purpose is to “ensure the amount-in-controversy is made in good faith. Melaleuca, Inc. v. Hansen, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47092, 5-6 (D. Idaho Feb. 25, 2014).

Save the Date The annual federal civil practice seminar will be Friday, Dec. 18, from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m., in Indianapolis.•


John Maley[email protected] – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, practicing federal and state litigation, employment matters and appeals.

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