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.

by Jon Noyes (Attorney Profile)
Wilson Kehoe Winingham LLC
2859 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
(317) 920-6400
wkw.com

[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; [1] and (2) adults who were not married and possessed no dependent next of kin. [2].  Which category the decedent falls into determines the measure of damages available. [3].

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.

by Ryan T. Leagre (Attorney Profile) [i]
Associate
Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
1346 N. Delaware St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-2415
(317) 637-0700
rleagre@psrb.com


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. [1]. 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. [2]. 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; [3] and (2) the insurance policy provision requiring a policyholder to give notice of a claim to the insurer is a condition precedent to coverage. [4].

Indiana courts should reconsider the holdings in Dreaded and Maplehurst. [5]. These holdings result in the forfeiture of coverage, which is unfair and disfavored under Indiana law, [6] and ignore the realities of long-tail environmental claims. [7]. 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. [8]

by Lara Langeneckert
Deputy Solicitor General
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
lara.langeneckert@atg.in.gov


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 [1] 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 [2]—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.

by Caitlin R. Brandon (Attorney Profile)
Associate, Intellectual Property
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 231-7550
LinkedIn


Keyword advertising is not a new phenomenon.  Some believe that various forms of keyword advertising have been around since as early as 1996. [1].  Generally defined as a “form of advertising on the Internet in which a business pays to have an advertisement [for] a website appear on [a consumer’s] computer screen when [the consumer] uses a particular word or phrase to search for information on the internet,” [2] keyword advertisements play a very important role in the marketing and advertising of many businesses.

by Jon Noyes (Attorney Profile)
Wilson Kehoe Winingham LLC
2859 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
(317) 920-6400
wkw.com


A litigator is representing a client in a personal injury case where the client has suffered significant injuries. Although the litigator has strong evidence that the client was injured, the damage award could vary by a wide margin. The litigator would like to narrow the lower margin without sacrificing the higher margin, but is not sure how to do so. An interrogatory asking the defendant to place a value on the client’s damages would certainly be objected to. Nor would the defendant’s deposition prove fruitful because the defendant cannot be expected to accurately value the plaintiff’s claim on the spot. Rather, the litigator may find the solution through requests for admissions.

Requests for admission are a powerful but underutilized discovery tool that allow attorneys to ask an opposing party to admit any matter relevant to the case and not protected by privilege. [1]. Unlike the Federal Rules, Indiana does not limit these matters to enumerated categories. [2]. Instead, all non-privileged, relevant matters are proper, including “an opinion, a contention, or a legal conclusion, if the request is related to the facts of the case.” [3].  This allows attorneys to significantly clarify their adversaries’ contentions and gain the upper hand at trial.

Hannah Kaufman Joseph (Attorney Profile)
Marc A. Menkveld (Attorney Profile)
Katz & Korin, P.C.
334 N. Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
More info on the firm’s BlogFacebook, and Twitter


On November 14, 2014, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a $1.44 million jury verdict against Walgreen Company (“Walgreen”) for a pharmacist’s breach of privacy obligations. [1]. The opinion began, “[i]n this case, a pharmacist breached one of her most sacred duties by viewing the prescription records of a customer and divulging the information she learned from those records to the client’s ex-boyfriend.” [2]. That brief summary of the case’s fact pattern provides the foundation of what ultimately led to a large jury verdict against Walgreen, derived solely from the acts of its employee.