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Indiana Attorney General’s office undefeated in jury trials this year

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita this week congratulated his litigation team for winning all of its eight civil jury trials this year. Rokita is the state’s chief legal officer and his office is its law firm.

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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (Photo from National Association of Attorneys General)

“To achieve a 100% success rate in these proceedings demonstrates both the integrity of the entities we defend and the skills of the lawyers working at this office,” he said in a news release. “Not only do these wins save money for Indiana taxpayers, but they also provide peace of mind to citizens who want to see justice prevail.”

Litigation Chief Counsel Patricia Erdmann said the team saved Hoosier taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The cases all involve lawsuits against state entities in which the Office of the Attorney General is the defense team.

In one case, a former employee of the Vigo County Department of Child Services sued for defamation following her termination for referring information about her to local police. Police ultimately brought no charges. A jury in August ruled against the woman.

In another, a former metrologist at the Indiana Department of Health’s Division of Weights and Measures sued the director for firing him after a month on the job, alleging disability discrimination. The state argued he wasn’t fulfilling his role’s responsibilities. A jury agreed.

Numerous prisoners’ cases were among the office’s jury trial victories.

  • In one, a prisoner sued the Westville Correctional facility warden and others for confiscating his religious materials and refusing to return them, and for preventing the confiscation. A jury found in favor of the state.
  • A second Westville prisoner filed an unsuccessful suit alleging an incident of excessive force.
  • And a third inmate at the same facility also sued the warden and others, accusing them of mishandling his multiple mental health disorders by falsifying his medical records and incorrectly administrating his psychiatric medications. The prisoner alleged an incident of excessive force caused a mental breakdown, during which he attacked two officers. He was involved an additional case that also resulted in a jury trial. Juries ruled against him in both instances.
  • A Pendleton Correctional Facility inmate sued staff accusing them of providing inadequate mental health care.
  • Another prisoner alleged negligence in fire safety procedures after a 2017 blaze at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. The facility staff he sued said they acted reasonably and in good faith.

“Hoosiers can rest assured they are in good hands when it comes to the professional litigators representing their state government in legal matters,” Rokita said. “I am proud every day to work with individuals who serve this state with servants’ hearts.”

This article originally appeared on Indiana Capital Chronicle.

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