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James Boyd
IU Maurer School of Law
Office 812-855-0156

Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law
Office 812-856-4044
Cell 317-513-0321


IU Maurer School of Law to host Court of Appeals of Indiana

Oct. 20, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Law students at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and members of the Bloomington community will get a rare local opportunity to observe the judicial process live and in person when the Court of Appeals of Indiana hears oral argument in the school’s Moot Court Room on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Judges Patricia A. Riley, Paul D. Mathias and Terry A. Crone will hear argument in Handy v. P.C. Building Materials Inc. beginning at noon. Students, faculty and the media are all invited to attend but must be in the Moot Court Room before the noon start. By Indiana Supreme Court order, all video cameras must be tripod-mounted, and both video and still cameras cannot employ flash or strobe lighting.

“We are honored to welcome the Court of Appeals once again to the Maurer School of Law,” said Seth Lahn, senior lecturer in law and director of the law school’s appellate advocacy program. “Giving our students and the Bloomington community at large the chance to witness the appellate process provides an invaluable experience that enhances what we teach here in the classroom. Wednesday’s event will be a tremendous opportunity to see first-hand how legal cases are argued before Indiana’s second-highest court.”

After the argument, judges will meet with select faculty and students from the law school for an informal discussion on appellate argument and other legal issues.

The case to be heard involves a woman who was injured while on a property owned by P.C. Building Materials Inc. Sharon Handy went onto the store’s property to look at granite countertops that were leaning against the outside wall of the store, just to the side of the front entrance. The store was closed at the time.

According to court documents, Handy pulled one of the leaning countertops toward her body to measure the second countertop that was behind it, when both countertops fell forward onto her foot, causing an injury to her toe.

Now on appeal, the parties disagree as to Handy’s status on the property at the time of the injury. The company maintains Handy was trespassing, or at best a licensee, and that it only had a duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring or acting in a way to increase her danger.

Handy contends that she was an invitee or business visitor with an implied invitation to enter onto P.C. Building’s property. The company responds that even assuming Handy qualified as an invited guest, the danger posed by the granite countertops was known or obvious to Handy, and therefore P.C. Building breached no duty to her as a matter of law.

Attorneys for both sides will present arguments, with the judges then taking the matter under advisement. A judgment will be reached at a future date.

Court documents in the case may be accessed via the law school's website.

About the Court of Appeals of Indiana

As the second-highest court in Indiana, the Court of Appeals hears appeals from the state’s trial courts and some state agencies. The court does not preside over trials and must accept all appeals sent to it, with the exception of:

  • Cases in which the death penalty or life without parole is rendered (appealed directly to the Indiana Supreme Court).
  • Cases in which statutes are declared unconstitutional by a trial court (automatically appealed to the Supreme Court).
  • Attorney disciplinary cases (which also go to the Supreme Court).
  • Cases involving taxation (which go to the Indiana Tax Court).

As a result, the 15 members of the court issue about 2,000 written opinions each year. A decision of the Court of Appeals of Indiana is final unless granted further review by the Indiana Supreme Court. The court hears cases only in three-judge panels. All panels have statewide jurisdiction and rotate three times per year. Cases are randomly assigned. In addition, there is no deadline for the court to reach a decision in each case; however, the court strives to issue decisions within four months of receiving an appeal, and opinions are often issued earlier.