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Monday, November 19, 2012

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

For publication opinions today (1):

In Dr. Norma Kreilein, Rock Emmert, and Healthy Dubois County, Inc. v. Common Council of the City of Jasper and Jasper Utility Board, a 17-page opinion, Judge Najam writes:

Dr. Norma Kreilein, Rock Emmert, and Healthy Dubois County, Inc. (collectively “HDC”) filed a complaint against the Common Council of the City of Jasper (“the Council”) and the Jasper Utility Board (“the Utility Board”) (collectively “Jasper”) seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief for alleged violations of the Indiana Open Door Law. Jasper filed a counterclaim against HDC alleging that its complaint is “frivolous, meritless, groundless, baseless and vexatious” and seeking attorney’s fees. Appellants’ App. at 64. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment in favor of Jasper on HDC’s complaint and denied Jasper’s counterclaim. HDC appeals and presents three dispositive issues for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its discretion when it denied HDC’s third motion to amend its complaint, motion to continue trial, and second motion to compel discovery.

We reverse and remand for further proceedings. * * *

In sum, HDC has demonstrated that it was diligent in pursuing discovery, but was thwarted for months by Jasper’s refusal to cooperate. Less than two weeks prior to trial, HDC obtained information in the course of depositions that suggested possible Open Door Law violations by the volunteer group. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied HDC’s third motion to amend its complaint, filed only four months after its initial complaint and while discovery was ongoing. Jasper cannot complain about either the timing of the third amended complaint or the motion to continue trial because Jasper refused to schedule depositions until the eleventh hour, less than two weeks prior to trial. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied HDC’s motion to continue the trial. We reverse and remand with instructions that the trial court: (1) grant HDC’s third motion to amend its complaint; (2) grant HDC an additional thirty days to conduct new discovery, including but not limited to depositions; (3) grant HDC’s second motion to compel discovery; and (4) schedule a new trial to be held no less than thirty days after the close of discovery.

NFP civil opinions today (1):

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of S.B., Minor Child; B.B., Mother, and D.B., Father v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (0):

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 19, 2012 11:06 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions