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Indiana AG granted request for new judge in case brought on by Indianapolis doctor

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Posted at 12:19 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 12:44:51-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A court has granted a motion by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita for a new judge in a case brought on by an Indianapolis doctor being investigated by Rokita's office.

Rokita's motion for a change of judge was granted this week following a Monday status conference in the lawsuit filed by attorneys for Caitlin Bernard, M.D., who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio before Indiana's new abortion law went into effect.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent Rokita from accessing her private patient medical records.

During the status conference, attorneys debated whether Bernard's request for a preliminary injunction is an emergency hearing that can be conducted in light of Rokita's motion for a change of judge. Attorneys were then ordered to confer on whether they'll be able to agree on another judge.

According to a court order, the parties to the case have a week after Tuesday to agree on an eligible special judge. If they cannot do so, the Marion County Clerk's Office will reassign the case to another civil judge within Marion Superior Court.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month on behalf of Bernard, her medical partner, Amy Caldwell, M.D. and their patients by Kathleen Delaney of DeLaney and DeLaney LLC along with Arnold & Porter.

Defendants in the case include Rokita and Scott Barnhart, director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General's Office.

In an email statement, a spokesperson for Rokita's office told WRTV, “Beyond our filings in court we have no additional information to provide at this time.”

Background

Bernard's story garnered national attention after a local newspaper connected her to a 10-year-old victim who allegedly traveled from Ohio to Indiana to have an abortion after being raped.

Following that report, Rokita appeared on Fox News calling out Bernard and vowing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abortion as well as whether or not she had followed proper reporting procedures.

Bernard's attorney responded with a written statement provided to WRTV as well as the legal documents showing that she had properly reported the abortion within the legally required timeframe. WRTV also filed an open records request and obtained the same records from DCS.

That report shows that the abortion was reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services and received by the Indiana Department of Health on July 2. According to Indiana Code, doctors are required to submit the report within three days after the abortion if the patient is under 14.

In July, Bernard received six “consumer complaint” notices from the Indiana Attorney General's office. She then filed a tort claim notice against Rokita and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General for false and defamatory statements made against her.

Bernard's attorney said they were also exploring additional "legal remedies" to hold Rokita accountable at the time.