The legal status of the organization that operates the South Shore Line in northwest Indiana has been decided thanks to a ruling from the Indiana Supreme Court. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the decision was brought on as a result of legal action against the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
The state’s high court ruled the NICTD is a political subdivision of Indiana, which is similar to a city or school corporation, according to the publication.
A rail worker, Clarence Lowe, had sought damages from the NICTD after he was allegedly injured on the job in January 2018. Lowe filed a tort claim the following October, 263 days after the injury occurred.
The Times reports Lowe filed a lawsuit against the NICTD in Porter County in January 2019, but a judge ruled in favor of the NICTD, stating the tort claim was not submitted within the 180-day period required to seek legal damages from a political subdivision of the state.
That ruling was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals earlier this year. Lowe appealed to the Supreme Court saying he was entitled to file a tort claim against the NICTD as a state agency within 270 days, instead of 180 days for a political subdivision.
Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter said in the court’s ruling that Indiana law clearly defines the NICTD as a political subdivision, which means tort claims must be filed within 180 days.
“He did not do so but instead provided notice to the attorney general within 270 days. In other words, he noticed the wrong actor and observed the wrong time frame,” Slaughter said. “Lowe’s arguments neither legally nor factually excuse his failing to provide timely notice.”
However, Slaughter said Lowe could further pursue his challenge of the NICTD’s legal status in federal court.