High court takes 4 cases

IL Staff
June 29, 2010
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted four transfers June 24, including one in which the Indiana Court of Appeals extended the duty to prevent injury to sports participants to include sporting event volunteers.

The high court will hear Cassie E. Pfenning v. Joseph E. Lineman, Whitey's 31 Club, Inc., Marion Elks Country Club Lodge #195, and the Estate of Jerry A. Jones, No. 27A02-0905-CV-444. The Court of Appeals split in affirming that the defendants in injured teen Cassie Pfenning’s suit owed a duty to protect her from injury. Pfenning attended a golf scramble with her grandfather and was injured by a golf ball while working on a beverage cart.

The appellate court has previously held there is no duty from one participant in a sports activity to another to prevent injury resulting from inherent risk of the sport.

The majority extended the definition of participants from Geiersbach v. Frieje, 807 N.E.2d 114 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), to include not only players, coaches, or players on the bench during the game, but also sporting event volunteers. Because the majority considered her a participant in the golf scramble, which had inherent risks, they ruled the defendants didn't owe her a duty.

The justices also took a case involving an inequity in the Grandparent Visitation Act. In In Re: Adoption of L.D.; A.B. and N.E. v. Jo.D and Ja.D., No. 49A02-0907-CV-671, the Court of Appeals noted a potential and presumably unintended bias in the act in which visitation is affected because of the lack of biological relationships between the parties in an adoption petition.

Paternal grandparents Jo.D. and Ja.D. adopted their adopted son’s child. The child was being taken care of by his mother’s co-worker, N.E., who later adopted the mother. N.E. wanted to continue visitation, but since she isn’t biologically related to the boy, she isn’t entitled to visitations under the act. If N.E. had been the one to adopt the boy, then the paternal grandparents wouldn’t have visitation rights either under the act, the appellate court ruled.

The Supreme Court also granted transfer to Curtis Outlaw v. State, No. 49S02-1006-CR-328; and Steven Marbley-El v. State, No. 71S03-1006-PC-329, and released opinions June 24.

The justices denied transfer to 23 other cases.


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