It is with deep sadness that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana announces the death of Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue on August 2, 2017. Judge LaRue was appointed to the court on May 11, 2011, and filled a new magistrate judgeship that had been created for the Southern District of Indiana by the Judicial Conference of the United States.
“Judge LaRue leaves a legacy of compassionate insight into the problems faced by litigants in our court. She had an unparalleled ability to identify their concerns, some of which had less to do with the law than with their personal circumstances," stated Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson. "She was a master mediator and reconciler, bringing her keen intellect, emotional intelligence and powers of persuasion to bear in successfully settling hundreds of cases in our court. She was also our dear friend and trusted colleague, and her loss to the members of the court is a permanent one. Her grace and strength throughout her life – including the final months of her journey – are equally admirable and remarkable. The court extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to Judge LaRue's family.”
Judge LaRue was born in Indianapolis in 1958 and graduated cum laude from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1989. She received her B.S. in Public Personnel-Labor Relations from Indiana University - Bloomington in 1980. Upon graduation from law school, Judge LaRue worked as a staff attorney at the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. She entered private practice as an associate at what became Haskin & LaRue, LLP, in 1994, and was named a partner two years later.
While in private practice, Judge LaRue gained extensive experience litigating employment-related matters involving discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Family & Medical Leave Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She also handled claims asserting various constitutional violations of due process rights, free speech, and political association violations; wage and hour violations; and claims under an array of federal labor acts.
As a magistrate judge, she was adept at bringing complex cases to settlement, working diligently with parties and attorneys to determine an outcome acceptable to both sides. Judge LaRue’s demeanor both in chambers and on the bench was calm, encouraging, and fair. She addressed all who appeared before her with patience and equanimity. Fellow Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker remarked, “She was an outstanding person and colleague. There was no pretense about her. Her passing is a tremendous loss."
Judge LaRue was also active in the wider legal community. In addition to serving on the Board of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Inc., Judge LaRue was a Life Member of the Marion County Bar Association and a Master with the
Indianapolis American Inn of Court.
In honor of Judge LaRue, flags at federal courthouses throughout the Southern District of Indiana were lowered to half-staff and will remain so through the end of the week.
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