Kosciusko County Fair motorized racing lawsuit is without a judge again

Another judge will have to be appointed to the fairgrounds motorized racing lawsuit.

Elkhart County Circuit Court Judge Michael A. Christofeno, who was appointed in June as a special judge in the case, on Friday filed an “order of disqualification of special judge pursuant to trial rule 79(H).”

The order states, in part, “Having been named special judge in the above-captioned matter, Judge Michael A. Christofeno of the Elkhart Circuit Court hereby disqualifies himself as special judge pursuant to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.”

The case was referred back to the Honorable Dean A. Colvin, who had appointed Christofeno.

Christofeno had a meeting today and was not available to comment on why he disqualified himself from the case.

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 plaintiffs’ complaint.

On June 12, Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed granted the motion for a change of judge, but as of this morning no rulings on the other motions have been made.

Superior Court I Judge David Cates was appointed as special judge, pursuant to local rule, subject to his acceptance. Cates declined jurisdiction due to a conflict and recused himself.

The case was then transferred to Superior Court II Judge Torrey Bauer. Bauer declined jurisdiction due to conflict and recused himself from the case.

The case then transferred to Superior Court III Judge Joe Sutton. Sutton declined to accept the special judge assignment due to a conflict and recused himself.

The case was then referred back to Reed for designation of a special judge.

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.

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 – filed the complaint with the Kosciusko County 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.