About this Event
1100 Eck Hall of Law, Notre Dame, IN 46556
his Traveling Oral Argument will not be webcast live because it will not take place in the Court of Appeals Courtroom. Video of the event will become available within about one week after the hearing. See Oral Arguments Online for video.
In July 2015, Jennifer Diane Lucas was driving southbound on Interstate 69 (“I-69”) in Hamilton County when the vehicle in front of her was involved in a collision. That vehicle came to rest partly in the left/median shoulder, which was only five feet wide at that point, and partly in the left lane of traffic. Lucas stopped behind the vehicle to check on its driver. Another vehicle struck the rear of Lucas’s vehicle, severely injuring Lucas. Lucas filed suit against several parties, including the State of Indiana, and alleged that the State was negligent in failing “to provide a left hand shoulder suitable for stopped vehicles and occupants to be out of traffic lane.” The State filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that it is entitled to governmental immunity under Indiana Code Section 34-13-3-3(7) of the Indiana Tort Claims Act because its redesign of that portion of I-69 in 2012 was a discretionary function. After a hearing, the trial court denied the State’s motion, finding that the State is not entitled to discretionary function immunity. The court noted that Indiana Code Section 34-13-3-3(18) specifically provides immunity for highway design, but only if the claimed loss occurred at least twenty years after the highway was designed or substantially redesigned, and that I-69 was substantially redesigned in 2012. Section 34-13-3-3(18) also provides that “this subdivision shall not be construed to relieve a responsible governmental entity from the continuing duty to provide and maintain public highways in a reasonably safe condition.” The State now brings this interlocutory appeal.