For many years, Indiana counties have been required to pay a portion of the cost of operating juvenile detention facilities. When the State attempted to collect a combined arrearage of approximately $75 million from Marion and St. Joseph Counties, the Counties filed a lawsuit seeking relief from their debts. The trial court entered summary judgment for the State.
Conclusion (slip op. at 19): The Counties have standing to assert their claims, and their claims are not barred by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches. However, we conclude the trial court correctly decided the merits of the Counties’ claims, and we affirm.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 7, 13, 18): The Counties have a stake in the $75 million at issue in this case. This sum represents a bona fide dispute between adverse parties. Therefore, we conclude the trial court erred by holding the Counties lacked standing . . . We conclude the Counties have not overcome the presumption the statutes requiring them to share in the cost of operating juvenile facilities are constitutional . . . We conclude the DOC had authority to charge the Counties for expenses incurred at all facilities.
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