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Judge Affirms City Annexation Lawsuit as to Defendant and Approach

On October 3, 2017, the Honorable Frank M. Nardi issued an order denying Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Motion to Dismiss the City of Bloomington’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Section 161 of Public Law 217-2017, which halted Bloomington’s annexation process. Governor Holcomb had argued that he was not the correct defendant to the City’s lawsuit and, as such, the lawsuit should be dismissed. Judge Nardi’s order found that Governor Holcomb “is the appropriate defendant in this case,” and that the declaratory judgment sought by the City was appropriate. The City received notice of the ruling today.

Based on this ruling, the City of Bloomington Legal Department intends to proceed with discovery, which is the next step in the legal process in such a case.

The Governor has 30 days to appeal Judge Nardi’s decision. In order for the State to appeal, it must first ask Judge Nardi for permission to make the appeal, and then ask the Court of Appeals to accept the appeal.  

“We are glad this ruling is in our favor and behind us so that we can reach the merits of the case in what we hope will be a timely fashion. Ultimately, we seek a ruling that the General Assembly overstepped its authority in halting Bloomington’s annexation process mid-stream,” commented City of Bloomington Corporation Counsel Philippa Guthrie.

The complete ruling is available online.