Justice Robert D. Rucker ended his decades-long legal career in 2017 with his retirement from the Indiana Supreme Court. Justice Rucker came to the supreme court after serving eight years as a judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals. His elevation to the supreme court in 1999 still stands as the most recent occasion a court of appeals judge was selected for Indiana’s highest court. (Prior to Justice Rucker, the most recent judge to hold that honor was Justice Donald Mote, who was elevated from what was then known as the Indiana Appellate Court in 1966 into the then-elected position of supreme court justice.)
Earlier this year, a trial court in Indiana ordered IBM to post a $25 million appeal bond staying execution of a $78 million judgment. The litigation arose from IBM’s breach of a contract requiring it to automate much of Indiana’s welfare services. The amounts of both the judgment and appeal bond are perhaps extraordinary. Still, the IBM case highlights lessons for attorneys requesting stays in more commonplace civil cases.
This Article begins by explaining why a party would need to request an appeal bond and the requirements for doing so. It then addresses how courts determine the amount to fix for such a bond. It concludes by offering some practical considerations for both defendants (judgment-debtors) and plaintiffs (judgment-creditors).
This Article responds to an article authored by John P. Gross, in which Professor Gross argues that representation by a public defender with an excessive caseload may be the defendant’s “best option.”
In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court held that all criminal defendants facing serious criminal charges are entitled to the assistance of counsel, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney. In the years since Gideon, however, the provision of public defense to those who cannot afford counsel has fallen far short of the ideal expressed in Gideon that “every defendant stands equal before the law.” The failure of public defense systems to provide adequate representation to indigent defendants is often caused by severe underfunding and has resulted in the chronic appointment of “incompetent or inexperienced” counsel; delays in the appointment of counsel and discontinuity of attorney representation; a lack of training and oversight for counsel representing indigent defendants; excessive public defender caseloads and understaffing of public defender offices; inadequate or nonexistent expert and investigative resources for defense counsel; and a lack of meaningful attorney-client contact.
One response to these failings—as is often the case when constitutional violations are afoot—has been to challenge them in court. The focus of this short Article is on how the courts can address and have addressed the failings of underfunded and structurally flawed indigent defense systems. More specifically, it explores lawsuits that identify systemic failures—such as underfunding, excessive caseloads, and inadequate training and oversight—and seeks system-wide remedies capable of transforming the provision of defense services.
[Editor’s Note: This is the second article Jon Noyes has written for the Indiana Law Review Blog. You can find his first article here.]
Indiana’s adult wrongful death statutes group individuals into two categories: (1) adults who were married, or possessed dependent next of kin, or both;  and (2) adults who were not married and possessed no dependent next of kin. . Which category the decedent falls into determines the measure of damages available. .
Under normal circumstances, this does not present a substantial obstacle. It is usually easy to determine whether or not the decedent was married or possessed dependent next of kin. This can be as simple as looking at the decedent’s death certificate. However, what if it is impossible to determine whether the decedent possessed a spouse or dependents at the time of his or her death? For example, how would a married couple be categorized if they had no dependents and died in a manner that left it impossible to determine who predeceased who? Can the plaintiff show that the decedent meets the requirement of either?
The answer is no. As discussed below, if two individuals that would normally be considered adults that were married expire simultaneously or in a manner that makes it impossible to determine who predeceased who, the plain language of the Wrongful Death Statute seems to indicate that it would be impossible to determine which measure of damages apply. However, under principles of equity, the personal representatives of the decedents should be able to recover damages as if both individuals left surviving spouses.
The ability of a policyholder to recover pre-tender costs is an evolving area of insurance coverage law. In Dreaded, Inc. v. St. Paul Guardian Insurance Company, the Indiana Supreme Court held that, under the facts of that case, a policyholder could not recover the legal expenses it incurred defending itself from a claim asserted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) prior to giving notice of or tendering the claim to its insurer. . And while Dreaded was limited to the facts of that case, the Indiana Court of Appeals in Travelers Insurance Company v. Maplehurst Farms, Inc. interpreted Dreaded to mean that pre-tender costs are simply not recoverable. . The courts’ decisions in Dreaded and Maplehurst rested, in part, on two grounds: (1) an insurer’s duty to defend its policyholder does not arise until the policyholder provides notice of the claim;  and (2) the insurance policy provision requiring a policyholder to give notice of a claim to the insurer is a condition precedent to coverage. .
Indiana courts should reconsider the holdings in Dreaded and Maplehurst. . These holdings result in the forfeiture of coverage, which is unfair and disfavored under Indiana law,  and ignore the realities of long-tail environmental claims. . To begin, Dreaded’s explanation of the duty to defend is incomplete. An insurer’s duty to defend its policyholder is not triggered by notice of the claim, but rather by the existence of a potentially covered claim. .
by Lara Langeneckert
Deputy Solicitor General
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
Imagine you are a successful widget manufacturer, and you have just expanded your business by purchasing another widget company called Acme. In the sale, you received all of Acme’s corporate assets, including its commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policy  from Flanders Insurance. You are all set to begin producing more widgets than ever before when a lawsuit stops you in your tracks: Apparently, the day before you bought Acme, an Acme widget exploded and injured three people. Those people are now suing you, Acme’s successor-in-interest, to recover for their personal injuries.
A bad situation, to be sure, but you’re not too worried. After all, you have Acme’s CGL policy, so Flanders has to defend and indemnify you against this lawsuit, right? To give a classic lawyer answer: it depends —mostly upon what jurisdiction you happen to be in. And if you are in Indiana, you are probably out of luck. This Article discusses the development of the law in this area, with a specific focus on Indiana. Specifically, this Article addresses two ways corporate policyholders can protect themselves both before and after a sale.