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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ind. Courts - More on: Supreme Court names special judge to hear Center Twp. small claims court's mandate action

According to a Sept. 22, 2011 story in the ILJ, "Trustee Eugene Akers’ plan to move the court [is] against Judge Michelle Smith Scott’s wishes. The judge cited security reasons among her objections to the move." See this Dec. 14, 2011 ILB entry.

This Dec. 14, 2011 ILB entry quoted from an order issued Dec. 9, 2011 by the Supreme Court, appointing Mr. Charles l. Berger, an attorney who regularly practices in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, to hear 49 S 00 - 1111 - SJ - 00667; CENTER TOWNSHIP OF MARION CTY. SMALL CLAIMS CT. (MANDATE). Here is the Dec. 9, 2011 order, as set out in the docket:

EACH JUSTICE HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE TRUSTEE'S MOTION AND THE JUDGE'S ORDER, AND HAS DISCUSSED THE MATTER AT COURT CONFERENCE. AN OVERRIDING ISSUE PRESENTED IN THIS MATTER IS THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE. ALL MANDATES, SOME MORE THAN OTHERS, IMPACT UPON ACCESS TO JUSTICE. ONE OF THE ISSUES PRESENTED HERE, THE LOCATION OF THE CENTER TOWNSHIP OF MARION COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT, MAY HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL IMPACT ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE. AS SUCH A PROMPT AND FULL HEARING OF THE COMPETING INTERESTS IS NECESSARY.

THE COURT FINDS THAT THE PROCEDURES SET OUT IN TRIAL RULE 60.5 ARE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE AN IMMEDIATE, EXPEDITIOUS AND SIMPLE METHOD FOR RESOLVING AND REVIEWING INTRA-COUNTY DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT COURTS AND COURT FUNDING. IN THE MATTER OF ASSIGNMENT OF COURTROOMS, JUDGES OFFICES, AND OTHER COURT FACILITIES OF THE ST. JOSEPH SUPERIOR COURT, 715 N.E.2D 372 (IND. 1999). THE USE OF TRADITIONAL LITIGATION, AS SUGGESTED BY THE TRUSTEE IN HIS MOTION TO DISMISS, IS TYPICALLY SLOWER, MORE COMPLEX AND MAY NECESSITATE THE USE OF OTHER REMEDIES TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO UNTIL THE LITIGATION IS RESOLVED. PROCEEDING UNDER TRIAL RULE 60,5, IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE JUDGE, THE TRUSTEE AND THE PUBLIC. THE COURT THEREFORE FINDS THAT THE TRUSTEE'S MOTION TO DISMISS SHOULD BE DENIED.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED THAT THE TRUSTEES' MOTION TO DISMISS IS DENIED.

HAVING DENIED THE TRUSTEE'S MOTION TO DISMISS, THE COURT, BEING DULY ADVISED, NOW FINDS THAT A SPECIAL JUDGE SHOULD BE APPOINTED TO HEAR THIS MATTER PURSUANT TO IND. TRIAL RULE 60.5(B).

IT IS, FURTHER ORDERED THAT PURSUANT TO T.R. 60.5(B), MR. CHARLES L. BERGER, AN ATTORNEY WHO REGULARLY PRACTICES IN VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA, IS APPOINTED TO HEAR THIS MATTER, WHICH SHALL BE HEARD IN THE CENTER TOWNSHIP OF MARION COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT. PURSUANT TO IND. TRIAL RULE 79(K) AN OATH OF OFFICE IS REQUIRED OF MR. BERGER.

RANDALL T. SHEPARD, CHIEF JUSTICE
ALL JUSTICES CONCUR.

This entry from Jan. 12, 2012:
AND THE COURT, BEING DULY ADVISED, NOW FINDS THAT THE TRUSTEE'S MOTION PROPERLY BELONGS BEFORE THE CENTER TOWNSHIP OF MARION COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT, WHERE THIS CASE IS PENDING AND SPECIAL JUDGE CHARLES L. BERGER.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED THAT THE TRUSTEE'S MOTION FOR CHANGE OF JUDGE AND/OR RECUSAL OF THE SPECIAL JUDGE IS DENIED.

RANDALL T. SHEPARD, CHIEF JUSTICE
ALL JUSTICES CONCUR.

The most recent entry on the docket is dated June 28, 2012. A new docket was created, beginning June 24, 2012, as: Case Number: 49 S 00 - 1207 - MF - 00420, IN RE: CENTER TOWNSHIP OF MARION COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT. That docket includes this July 26, 2012 entry:
FOR PURPOSES OF BRIEFING, CENTER TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE, EUGENE W. AKERS, AND THE CENTER TOWNSHIP ADVISORY BOARD CENTER WILL BE CONSIDERED THE APPELLANTS, AND JUDGE SCOTT, THE APPELLEE. THE APPELLANTS' BRIEF SHALL BE FILED NO LATER THAN AUGUST 27, 2012, AND SHALL CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED IN APPELLATE RULES 43, 44, AND 46. THE APPELLEE'S BRIEF AND ANY SUBSEQUENT BRIEF SHALL BE DUE AS SPECIFIED IN APPELLATE RULE 45, AND SHALL ALSO CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED IN APPELLATE RULES 43, 44, AND 46. ATTORNEYS FOR CENTER TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE, EUGENE W. AKERS, AND THE CENTER TOWNSHIP ADVISORY BOARD CENTER SHALL PREPARE ANY NECESSARY APPENDIX OF RELEVANT TRIAL COURT FILINGS, AS PROVIDED IN APPELLATE RULES 49-51. NO EXTENSIONS OF TIME FOR THE FILING OF BRIEFS WILL BE PERMITTED ABSENT EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES.

AS OF THE DATE OF THIS ORDER, THE MANDATE ACTION WAS ASSIGNED THE NEW SUPREME COURT CAUSE NUMBER THAT APPEARS AT THE TOP OF THIS ORDER, AND SHOULD BE USED ON ALL FUTURE FILINGS IN THE MATTER.

QUESTIONS REGARDING THE PROCEDURAL MECHANICS OF RECORD PREPARATION AND BRIEFING SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE SUPREME COURT CLERK/ADMINISTRATOR.

BRENT E. DICKSON, CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIANA

The docket further shows that Appellant Center Twp. Trustee's brief was filed August 27, 2012, and Appellee Judge Scott's brief was filed Oct. 1, 2012.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 4, 2012 02:38 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts