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Saturday, September 06, 2014

Ind. Decisions - "Purdue rebuffed in Wartell case: Justices let stand ruling declaring report to be public"

Although the transfer list from the Supreme Court's conference Thursday is not yet publicly posted (but the parties likely have been advised), Rebecca S. Green of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is reporting this morning:

The Indiana Supreme Court will let stand a lower court's ruling declaring public the report concerning the termination of former IPFW Chan­cel­lor Mike Wartell.

By declining to hear arguments in the case, the state's highest court is basically saying it is not disagreeing with the Indiana Court of Appeals' decision to declare the hotly sought-after document, known as the Trimble Report, a public record.

And it is the latest loss for Purdue University in the cases surrounding the 2012 removal of Wartell as the head of IPFW. * * *

Purdue refused to make Trimble's report accessible to Wartell's attorneys, claiming it was protected. Purdue was upheld by the Indiana public access counselor. Wartell took the matter to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled that the document was a public record.

Alongside the Tippecanoe County lawsuit, Wartell filed a federal law­suit, alleging that Purdue had never before enforced its policy requiring university executives to retire at 65.

According to the federal lawsuit, in late 2010 or early 2011, then-Purdue President France Córdova announced in a meeting that, before her term as president was over, she wanted to increase the number of women in the administration.

Requests from IPFW that Wartell be allowed to stay were denied.

Purdue replaced Wartell with a 64-year-old woman, Vicky Carwein, and she assumed his duties in September 2012.

Purdue has been trying to keep the Trimble Report secret in the federal case as well, claiming it is protected by attorney-client privilege.

But in July, a federal magistrate judge ruled that had Trimble been working as Purdue's attorney, Wartell would have been told that before he talked to him.

The document was subject to discovery and should be disclosed, according to court documents.

The university's attorneys challenged that ruling as well, asking for the court to review additional documents not available to the magistrate when he made his ruling. A federal judge declined to consider those documents and let stand the original order to disclose.

In another attempt to keep the document under wraps, the university asked earlier this week to have the document declared confidential in the federal lawsuit.

If the court grants that request, the lawsuit would be disclosed only to Wartell's attorneys and never to anyone else, including the media and the general public.

ILB: But would such a federal trial court declaration override the separate Indiana state court rulings?

Here is a long list of other ILB posts on the Wartell cases, including this editorial Friday from the FWJG, headed "A telling silence: Purdue makes one more try to quash report."

Here is the March 24, 2014 Court of Appeals decision
, for which, according to this morning's story, transfer has now been denied by the Supreme Court.

Here is the docket entry
from Thursday, Sept. 4: Note the vote is 3-2:

09-04-2014 THIS MATTER HAS COME BEFORE THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT ON A
PETITION TO TRANSFER JURISDICTION FOLLOWING THE ISSUANCE OF A
DECISION BY THE COURT OF APPEALS. THE PETITION WAS FILED
PURSUANT TO APPELLATE RULE 57. THE COURT HAS REVIEWED THE
DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. ANY RECORD ON APPEAL THAT
WAS SUBMITTED HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO THE COURT FOR REVIEW,
ALONG WITH ANY AND ALL BRIEFS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN FILED IN THE
COURT OF APPEALS AND ALL THE MATERIALS FILED IN CONNECTION WITH
THE REQUEST TO TRANSFER JURISDICTION. EACH PARTICIPATING MEMBER
OF THE COURT HAS VOTED ON THE PETITION. EACH PARTICIPATING
MEMBER HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE THAT JUSTICE'S VIEWS ON
THE CASE IN CONFERENCE WITH THE OTHER JUSTICES.
BEING DULY ADVISED, THE COURT NOW DENIES THE APPELLANT'S
PETITION TO TRANSFER OF JURISDICTION.
LORETTA H. RUSH, CHIEF JUSTICE
ALL JUSTICES CONCUR, EXCEPT FOR DICKSON, J., AND MASSA, J., WHO
VOTE TO GRANT THE PETITION TO TRANSFER.

(ORDER REC'D ON 09/05/14 @ 12:23 PM) ENTERED ON 09/05/14 AB

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 6, 2014 09:21 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions | Indiana Government | Indiana Transfer Lists