Justices to hear civil forfeiture argument, 2 others

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral argument in three cases on Thursday, including a case dealing with the distribution of civil forfeiture proceeds.

A case that challenges Indiana’s civil forfeiture practices under the state Constitution, Jeana M. Horner, et al. v. Terry R. Curry, et al., No. 18S-PL-00333, was granted emergency transfer after a Marion Superior Court judge upheld the constitutionality of the former Hoosier process of disbursing civil forfeiture proceeds to law enforcement before depositing the remaining balance in the Common School Fund.

The Institute for Justice urged Marion Superior Judge Thomas Carroll to strike down that practice earlier this year, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief for Indiana citizens and taxpayers. But Carroll granted summary judgment to the prosecutor’s office, finding that the constitutional provision did not include civil forfeitures. On appeal, the Institute for Justice alleges that Indiana’s civil forfeiture statute violates Indiana Constitution Article 8, Section 2. The case will be heard at 10:30 a.m.

Justices will also listen to arguments in Angela Brewer, Estate of Rickey Brewer v. PACCAR, Inc., No. 18S-CT-00451, in which Rickey Brewer was killed on the job when he was crushed between a trailer and a semi-truck built from a PACCAR Motors Co.-manufactured “glider kit.” Brewer’s widow sued PACCAR, arguing that the glider kit’s lack of certain safety features made it unreasonably dangerous.
The Morgan Circuit Court granted summary judgment to PACCAR, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that it was a question of fact whether it was reasonable for PACCAR to market a product that lacked the safety features. The case will be heard at 9:45 a.m.

Additionally, justices will hear James Horejs, et al. v. Albert Milford, D.O., et al., No. 45A03-1709-CT-02173 on petition to transfer. In that case, the appellate court affirmed a decision granting medical providers partial summary judgment when it found a deceased man’s claim for survivor damages following his wife’s death could not proceed after he himself died, leaving no will and no heirs. The case will be heard at 9 a.m.

The Indiana Supreme Court oral argument schedule can be found here.

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