Evan C. Zoldan[i]

Introduction

When the Court of Appeals of Indiana decided an important case about gun liability in May 2019, it got a key legal point wrong. The case, City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson,[ii]arose out of a lawsuit filed by the City of Gary, Indiana (the “City”), against Smith & Wesson and other firearms manufacturers. The City asked the court to hold the manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance and for the negligent design, distribution, and marketing of firearms. After the City’s lawsuit was filed, the Indiana legislature passed a statute granting immunity to gun manufacturers for these types of claims. Because the lawsuit predated the statute, however, it was not clear whether the statute would affect the pending lawsuit.

Administrative agencies regulate a wide breadth of issues—including driver’s licenses, alcoholic beverage permits, placement of utility poles, administration of the state’s Medicaid program, and complaints by prisoners—to name just a few examples discussed in this Article. These agencies form a bridge between Indiana’s citizens and their government.

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.)

On April 21, Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law an enactment of the General Assembly that Secretary of State Connie Lawson called “the most farreaching revision of Indiana business laws in more than two decades.” The new act consolidates in a single place in the Indiana Code and harmonizes certain administrative provisions and provisions governing transactions that had previously been contained in five different business entity statutes. Although the new law does not bring about much substantive change, it contains an unprecedented amount of procedural simplification.

There are many things to enjoy about spending time at a lake: teaching one’s kids to waterski, taking long pontoon boat rides, playing the Beach Boys’ greatest hits on repeat, floating around on a raft, and, of course, cornhole—Indiana’s true pastime.

Unfortunately, no matter how fast you run to your car at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon to beat the weekend traffic or how far you travel to “your” lake, legal challenges may follow you.