United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MARK A. BROOKS-ALBRECHTSEN, Plaintiff,
STATE OF INDIANA ex rel. INDIANA SUPREME COURT, et al., Defendants.
SECOND ENTRY ON VARIOUS MOTIONS
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE
to this Court's Order, the Court held a hearing on
October 26, 2017, to aid in determining whether to grant the
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. Specifically, the
Court sought to hear evidence on whether the bad faith
exception to the Younger abstention doctrine applies
to the Plaintiff's claims relating to his bar admission
Court recounts below the background information included in
its September 21, 2017, Entry on Various Motions (Dkt. No.
On his second application to sit for the Indiana bar
examination, the Indiana Board of Law Examiners determined
that the Plaintiff was ineligible to sit for the examination.
It also prohibited him from reapplying for bar admission
until February 2018. The Plaintiff filed a petition with the
Indiana Supreme Court seeking review of the Board of Law
Examiner's determination, which that court determined was
premature. On February 18, 2016, the Plaintiff filed suit in
this Court. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
Plaintiff's first amended complaint (Dkt. No. 15).
Following that motion, the Plaintiff filed a motion for leave
to file a second amended complaint (Dkt. No. 23). The Court
granted the Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second
amended complaint (Dkt. No. 36), and reviewed that complaint
to determine whether it had jurisdiction. In its entry
regarding jurisdiction (Dkt. No. 38), the Court dismissed for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction all of the
Plaintiff's claims other than the Plaintiff's claims
regarding the constitutionality of the Indiana bar
examination and of Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 2.1,
concluding that, pursuant to Younger v. Harris, it
should abstain from interfering in the ongoing state
proceeding regarding the Plaintiff's application to sit
for the Indiana bar examination. It further dismissed all
defendants other than the State. The Plaintiff first raised
his bar examination claims in his second amended complaint
and amended his claim regarding Admission and Discipline Rule
2.1 in that complaint. Because the Court simultaneously
granted the Plaintiff leave to file his second amended
complaint (Dkt. No. 36) and filed its entry regarding
jurisdiction, the Defendants had not yet responded to the
second amended complaint's allegations regarding the
constitutionality of the bar examination and of Admission and
Discipline Rule 2.1. The Court directed the State to do so.
Shortly after the Court ordered the State to respond to those
allegations, the Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration
of the Court's entry on jurisdiction and moved for leave
to file a third amended complaint (Dkt. No. 39). With the
Plaintiff's motions pending, the State filed a motion to
dismiss the Plaintiff's claims in his Second Amended
Complaint challenging the constitutionality of the bar
examination and Admission and Discipline Rule 2.1 (Dkt. No.
43). The Plaintiff filed a notice of partial dismissal,
voluntarily dismissing his claims relating to the
constitutionality of the bar examination, but reserving the
opportunity to respond to the State's motion to dismiss
that claim in the event that the Court reconsidered its entry
on jurisdiction. See Dkt. No. 48 at 2.
Dkt. No. 55 at 1-2.
September 21, 2017, the Court granted the Plaintiff's
motion for reconsideration to the extent that it would hold a
hearing on the issue of bad faith. It ordered the parties to
appear before it to help the Court determine whether the bad
faith exception to Younger abstention applied to the
Plaintiff's claims related to his bar examination
application. And, because it was unclear whether bad faith
had occurred in the state proceeding, and thus unclear
whether the Plaintiff's third amended complaint would be
futile, the Court granted the Plaintiff's motion for
leave to file his third amended complaint. It further denied
as moot the State's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 43).
to this Court's Order, the Court held a hearing on
October 26, 2017. The Plaintiff and State appeared, and the
Court heard evidence on whether the bad faith exception to
the Younger abstention doctrine applies to the
Plaintiff's claims relating to his bar admission
BAD FAITH ISSUE
federal court determines that a pending state proceeding is
conducted in bad faith, extraordinary circumstances exist
that allow a possible exception to Younger
abstention. FreeEats.com v. Indiana, 502 F.3d 590,
596 (7th Cir. 2007). In such circumstances the court may
exercise jurisdiction. Id. The Plaintiff contends
that the state proceeding was conducted in bad faith and thus
warrants this Court's jurisdiction. He argues as follows:
The Board [of Law Examiners] currently holds [him] in limbo
for the duration of his suspension by failing to issue a
final action, precluding judicial review by the Indiana
Supreme Court. Or, if the Board did hold a final hearing in
[his] absence, this too holds [him] in limbo for the duration
of his suspension by failing to provide [him] with the
Board's notice of final action in sufficient time to
allow [him] to seek judicial review by the Indiana Supreme
Court within the 20 days allotted under Admission and
Discipline Rule 14, Section 2.
Dkt. No. 39 at 6.
The June 30, 2016 Hearing and the Board of Law Examiners'
Board of Law Examiners (“the Board”) scheduled a
hearing that was to be held on June 30, 2016. The Board's
counsel, Libby Milliken, contacted the Plaintiff on June 29,
2016, to determine whether he “intend[ed] on
withdrawing his request for a hearing.” Dkt. No. 39 at
5. The Plaintiff responded to the inquiry, stating, in part,
that he believed that the “hearing cannot save the
Board's constitutional violations” and said that
the hearing would be “a complete waste of time for me
and those expected to attend.” Id. at 5-6. He
also stated that “any action taken by the Board would
be futile and meaningless.” Id. at 6. He did
not attend a hearing and stated that he did not know whether
the Board of Law Examiners proceeded with the hearing.
Id. He also explained that he “ha[d] not
received ‘specific findings of fact, conclusion and
recommendations' as required by Admission and Discipline
Rule 12, Section 9.” Id.
fact, the Board did hold a hearing on June 30, 2016. A panel
of three Board members participated in the hearing
(“Hearing Panel”). The State of Indiana presented
evidence; as promised, the Plaintiff did not attend.
14, 2016, the Hearing Panel presented to the Board findings
of fact, conclusions of law, and a decision for the
Board's consideration. The ...