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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - More on "Indiana regulators to consider unsealing additional Duke documents in probe of Edwardsport power plant" [Updated]

John Russell of the Indianapolis Star today is covering the review by the IURC of the hundreds of sealed documents, one-by-one, and just tweeted:

[Updated at 8:53 PM] For more, see long Russell entry at Star's BizBuzz, headed "Duke faces sharp questions on secret documents."

[Updated on 3/7/12] Here is the finalized story, from today's Star, headed "Duke grilled by IURC on request to keep documents about Edwardsport plant sealed: IURC challenges utility to show need for keeping Edwardsport power plant documents sealed."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Government

Ind. Courts - Two-year clerkship opens with Court of Appeals Judge Baker

The ILB won't be posting all these openings, but this sounds like a great opportunity for the right person:

Two-year clerkship opens with Court of Appeals Judge Baker

INDIANAPOLIS – Judge John G. Baker of the Court of Appeals of Indiana is accepting applications from qualified applicants for a two-year clerkship to begin Sept. 4, 2012. Duties and responsibilities include working with the Judge
and co-clerks to perform legal tasks, including research, writing, and proofreading. Applicants must be comfortable discussing cases and applicable legal precedent.

Law school graduates, members of the bar and third-year law students in the upper 15 percent of their class are encouraged to apply. Law Review and/or Moot Court experience is preferred. Starting salary is $56,375, with benefits.

Submit cover letter, resume and law school transcripts no later than March 15, 2012, to the Honorable John G. Baker, Judge, Court of Appeals of Indiana, Room 419 Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis IN 46204.

For additional information about the clerkship, please contact Sylvia Alsip.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Courts - What has become of the State-IBM trial in Marion Superior Court ?

"State-IBM trial over canceled welfare contract began yesterday" was the heading to this Feb. 28th ILB entry quoting stories from the Indianapolis Star and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Nary a news report since, however.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 6 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In CBR Event Decorators, Inc., Gregory Rankin, Robert Cochrane and John Bales v. Todd M. Gates , a 14-page opinion, Judge Vaidik writes:

Robert Cochrane, John Bales, and Gregory Rankin, shareholders of CBR Event Decorators, Inc., appeal the trial court’s judgment entered against CBR in favor of Todd M. Gates. The shareholders challenge the trial court’s decision to pierce the corporate veil and hold them personally liable for the judgment against CBR. We conclude that in order to pierce the corporate veil there must be a causal connection between misuse of the corporate form and fraud or injustice. Because there is no such causal connection here, we reverse in part and affirm in part.
NFP civil opinions today (2):

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of M.B. v. Wishard Health Services Midtown Community Mental Health Center (NFP)

Darrick Scott and Paul A. Watson v. City of Terre Haute, et al. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

John Shocke v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jamika J. Talley v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Larry Parks v. State of Indiana (NFP)

David A. Bowe v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today

In Mark J. Thatcher v. City of Kokomo, et al, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion addressing a certified question from Judge Lawrence of the SD Ind., Justice Rucker writes:

Pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 64, which allows certification of questions of Indiana law for consideration by this Court, we have accepted the following questions:

1) Does Indiana Code section 36-8-4-7(a) apply to a member of the 1977 Fund1 who is receiving disability benefits and who has been determined to have been recovered pursuant to 35 Indiana Administrative Code section 2-5-5(c)?

2) If yes, does Indiana Code section 36-8-8-12(e) apply to determination of eligibility under Indiana Code section 36-8-4-7(a), such that time spent receiving disability benefits counts toward “years of service” as that term is used in Indiana Code section 36-8-4-7(a)? * * *

Indiana Code section 36-8-4-7(a) applies to a member of the 1977 Fund who is receiving disability benefits and who has been determined to have been recovered pursuant to 35 Indiana Administrative Code section 2-5-5(c). And the time period during which a person receives disability benefits under Indiana Code section 36-8-8-12(e) does not count toward “years of service” as that term is used in Indiana Code section 36-8-4-7(a).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions

Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012 - Honoring Chief Justice Shepard

Maggie L. Smith of Frost Brown Todd LLC and chair of the ISBA Appellate Practice session, writes to attorneys:

On May 10th, the bench and bar will join together to honor Chief Justice Shepard.

One of the things planned for this event is a “montage” of memorable oral argument moments involving the Chief Justice.

If you know of an oral argument that should be included in this tribute, please let me know ASAP.

I have access to any argument after 2001 (with the exception of arguments heard on the road) so just tell me the case name and what you remember as being memorable from it, and I can take it from there.

Feel free to forward this to anyone you believe may have a memorable moment to share.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012

Ind. Law - As the 2012 General Assembly draws to an end ...

"Finish line is in sight for 2012 session of General Assembly" is the headline to this comprehensive story by Mary Beth Schneider and Chris Sikich in today's Indianapolis Star. The story details some of the bills on the Governor's desk, or on their way, plus what is remaining for concurrence or conference committee action.

ILB: Here are some tools to keep track:

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has an editorial today with words of warning, cautioning about the "legislative surprises" seen in past sessions:
[I]n these waning days, lawmakers will also make key decisions on spending and taxes.

Lawmakers are on track to make many of those decisions in one or more broad-ranging bills. History teaches that as likely as not, those bills will be crafted in a conference committee where legislative leaders will make numerous changes just before lawmakers cast a final vote. Not all of the bills’ effects will necessarily be clear and widely known when those final votes are taken.

Leaders should promise to produce final language at least 24 hours before bills face votes in the House and Senate. But with some lawmakers pushing to adjourn by Thursday, the likelihood of clearly understood, transparent bills does not appear strong. * * *

Dozens [of issues] could surface and be tucked into broad-based bills.

While lawmakers hurry to wind up their session, they should strive to make public exactly what they are voting on in the waning days and hours of their annual legislative session. That is not too much to ask.

Finally, another noteworthy story: Tom Davies of the AP reports on the retirement wave in the General Assembly. Some quotes:
The final days of this year's legislative session will see more than a dozen veteran legislators ending their Statehouse careers, setting up the Indiana House to have more than three dozen of its 100 members in their first or second terms when lawmakers next return.

The loss of hundreds of years of experience in the House — including the top Republican and Democratic budget writers — has some worried that paid lobbyists could gain an even heftier role within the General Assembly. * * *

"Folks who are new, I think, tend to be really dependent on lobbyists because they haven't been around a while to learn about the issues," said Julia Vaughn, policy director for the government watchdog group Common Cause Indiana. "I do think that newcomers suffer from an information void, and lobbyists are more than happy to fill it."

Dozens of lobbyists for business associations, school groups, labor unions, attorneys, law enforcement and state agencies spend their days in the Statehouse during legislative sessions seeking out lawmakers to support bills in which they have an interest. Those lobbyists are typically the people testifying during committee hearings and often have the ears of lawmakers as bills are drafted and revised.

With bills on hundreds of topics filed each session, the system couldn't function without lobbyists on all sides of issues who are experts in their subjects and can work both with their clients and lawmakers, said Ed Roberts, a lobbyist on labor law and business tax issues for the Indiana Manufacturers Association over the past 36 years.

[More] From Chris Sikich of the Indy Star, a long feature on two of the retirees: "2 retiring Indiana General Assembly representatives are the last of their class: Having served since 1973, Republican Jeff Espich and Democrat Bill Crawford bringing influential careers to an end after 40 years."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Law

Courts - "Jurors' Tweets Upend Trials: Lawyers Are Using Posts on Twitter and Facebook to Overturn Court Rulings "

A few quotes from a long story by Steve Eder in today's WSJ:

While most judges frown upon jurors' using their smartphones while sitting in the jury box, jurors typically have full access to social media outside the courtroom. The challenge for courts, legal experts say, is enforcing social-media bans during trials—which can last for weeks—at a time when authorities can't even stop some people from risking their lives by sending text messages while driving. * * *

In Will County, Ill., defense attorney Joel Brodsky is thinking ahead to how to guard against jurors' using social media during the coming high-profile trial of his client, Drew Peterson, a former police sergeant accused of killing his third wife. Mr. Peterson has pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Brodsky said he may ask the court to require jurors to disclose information, such as Twitter handles, to make sure jurors aren't "researching, tweeting or Facebooking" about the case. "That would be ripe grounds for a mistrial, for throwing out a conviction or an acquittal, and we'd have to go through the process all over again," he said. "It would be horrible."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Posted to Courts in general