Four Kosciusko County judges recuse themselves from fairgrounds lawsuit

A judge from outside the county will have to be found for the fairgrounds motorized racing lawsuit.

On June 11, Kosciusko County Community Fair Inc. filed motions seeking a new judge and venue in a court case to determine the future of motorized racing at the fairgrounds, as well as a motion to dismiss Count I of the plaintiff’s complaint.

The following day, June 12, Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed granted the motion for a change of judge, but as of this morning had not ruled on the other motions.

Superior Court I Judge David Cates was appointed as special judge, pursuant to local rule, subject to his acceptance.

On Monday, Cates declined jurisdiction due to a conflict and recused himself. The case was then transferred to Superior Court II Judge Torrey Bauer, subject to his acceptance.

Later Monday, Bauer declined jurisdiction due to conflict and recused himself from the case. The case then transferred to Superior Court III Judge Joe Sutton, subject to his acceptance.

Thursday morning, Sutton declined to accept the special judge assignment due to a conflict and recused himself. The case is now referred back to Reed for designation of a special judge through district administrative procedure.

On May 16, Reed granted a preliminary injunction against the Fair Inc. – the defendants in the case – having motorized racing at the fairgrounds. The hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction was in Reed’s court May 10. Evidence and testimony were submitted by both sides.

According to the injunction,  the Fair is “prohibited from conducting, running, permitting or allowing motorized racing on fairgrounds property or otherwise violating the restrictive covenants” that were put into place in 1990.

The plaintiffs – four homeowners who sought an injunction against motorized racing – posted a $50,000 bond on May 22 to cover costs in the event the defendants win the lawsuit. They filed the complaint with the Circuit Court for the injunction after some motorized racing events took place earlier this year.

The Fair filed a motion to appeal Reed’s order on June 8. On June 12, the Kosciusko County Clerk’s Office received notice of the appeal from the Indiana Court of Appeals with Appellate Cause No. 18A-PL-001319. On Monday, the clerk filed notice of completion of the clerk’s record and that notice was sent to the Indiana Court of Appeals.