According to Lindsay Machak, writing for the Northwest Indiana Times, a lawsuit has been filed against the City of Hammond. Part of this previous year’s assault on local government by the Indiana General Assembly was a statute that encourages lawsuits by gun owners.
The plaintiffs are suing over a city gun ordinance that is apparently on the books but which has not been enforced.
IC 35-47-11.1-5 which creates standing for a citizen to file a lawsuit provides:
A person adversely affected by an ordinance, a measure, an enactment, a rule, or a policy adopted or enforced by a political subdivision that violates this chapter may file an action in a court[.]
This section became effective July 1, 2011. The first hurdle will be to establish that the ordinance was adopted or enforced after that date. They might argue that merely by having a statute remain on the books after July 1, 2011, a municipality violates the statute and they are adversely affected by it. But, I don’t know that that interpretation is entirely clear.
In any event, it’s a headache for the city. If they lose, the statute provides for attorney’s fees and liquidated damages in the amount of three times their attorney’s fees. So, the incentive for the plaintiff is to litigate as much as possible to increase the attorney fees and thereby increase the multiplier for their damage calculation. The corresponding incentive for the municipality is to capitulate as quickly as possible; pretty much regardless of the strength of their legal case.