INDIANAPOLIS -- Today the Indiana Supreme Court decided to hear the appeal of a lower court order requiring a deposition of the Governor in a civil lawsuit and scheduled oral argument for February 13 in the interlocutory appeal. The State is appealing the Marion County Superior Court's order of December 15 that requires the Governor to be deposed in ongoing litigation between Family and Social Services Administration and IBM over a canceled contract for welfare delivery services. A deposition is sworn testimony with cross-examination taken out of court.
The Indiana Attorney General's Office does not represent FSSA in the main lawsuit with IBM, but the Attorney General's Office will participate in the appeal of the deposition order and will contend that under statute the Governor cannot be ordered to give a deposition in a civil suit concerning his official duties. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today issued this statement:
"Because requiring a sitting Governor to appear for a deposition in a state contract dispute would create a harmful precedent for future officeholders, the trial court's ruling should be reviewed by the state's highest court. The State's position is that the separation of powers among the coequal branches of government must be respected, and my office has the responsibility to defend the institutional interests of the Office of the Governor," Zoeller said.
The Marion County Superior Court has stayed its December 15 deposition order until the interlocutory appeal is concluded, but other trial court proceedings can continue unabated, including a trial set for February 27, in which the Indiana Attorney General's Office is not involved.
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