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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Updating: This morning's Indiana Supreme Court opinion is not new, and what's wrong with that

Background: On March 24th the ILB wrote that the Supreme Court had posted an opinion on March 21st, State of Indiana v. I.T., that was simply a minor corrected version of the opinion posted on March 12th. But it confused several entities; the Court website and Twitter account both identified it as a new opinion, as did IndyStar. The ILB commented:

[T]here is nothing in the opinion filed March 21st to indicate that it is merely a corrected version of the opinion filed March 12th.

Earlier this month, on March 6th, the Supreme Court also issued a corrected opinion, of the March 4th opinion In re Brown. At the time, the ILB wrote:

The Supreme Court has now posted a new version of the March 4th opinion in In re Brown, marked "Corrected on March 5, 2014." However, there is no indication of what is the correction.
Now, a few weeks later, the Supreme Court has issued another corrected opinion, this one with no indication at all that it has been corrected, much less pointing out what the change is. And although the Brown opinion used the same filing date for both versions, I.T. now has two separate filing dates.

On July 12, 2013, the ILB wrote a long post titled "Ind. Courts - Current process for dealing with corrected appellate opinions poses perils." The last part of the post discusses the perils posed by the haphazard way corrections to opinion appear to be dealt with. It concluded:

What to do? At a bare minimum, the changed version should be so identified. A change sheet should be included in the posting so that the changes are easily found.
Revised Procedure: On Wed., May 28th, the Supreme Court decided the case of Smith v. Delta Tau Delta. When you click on the opinion, you get this version, still marked "filed May 28, 2014", but clearly stating on p. 2: "May 28, 2014, Corrected."

A check of the docket reveals:

06-02-2014 The court has issued the attached notice of change:

It has come to the court's attention that the opinion handed down on May 28, 2014, contains a misstatement of the procedural history of the case. On page one of the opinion, it says "the court of appeals affirmed the trial court." It should say "the court of appeals affirmed in part but reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment." This inadvertent error was corrected in a revised opinion that was delivered to the clerk with this notice. No other change was made to the opinion, and neither the corrected opinion nor this notice alter the due date for a petition for rehearing.

The clerk is directed to (1) enter this notice of change on the chronological case summary; (2) serve all counsel of record with a copy of the corrected opinion and this notice; (3) remove the original opinion from the court's website and post the corrected opinion in its place; and (4) send a copy of this notice to Thomson/Reuters, LexisNexis, and Wolters Kluwer.

Brent E. Dickson, Chief Justice
(Notice rec'd on 06/02/14 @ 2:39 pm) entered on 06/02/14 ab

Notice how this correction was handled:But how was the ILB even aware of this change? Only because a reader told me. But as long as the Court is dealing with minor misstatements like this, this latest iteration of the correction process seems quite adequate.

My only suggested addition would be to institute an online dynamic list of opinions corrected post-filing, perhaps similar to the one now used by the Court of Appeals for NFPs changed to FP.

For background, see this May 25th ILB post, headed: "Final Word on U.S. Law Isn’t: SCOTUS Keeps Editing."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 5, 2014 12:08 PM
Posted to Indiana Decisions