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Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
32A05-1108-DR-417
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.

A Plus Home Health Care Incorporated v. Kathleen Miecznikowski
93A02-1207-EX-558
Civil. Affirms Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision in favor of Miecznikowski on her claim for workers’ compensation. Agrees with the board’s conclusion that her fall was a neutral risk and therefore compensable.

Christine Banks v. Timothy R. Banks
45A03-1203-DR-96
Domestic Relation. Affirms trial court’s reduction in the amount of spousal maintenance Christine Banks receives from her ex-husband Timothy Banks. The COA rejected Christine Banks’ argument that Indiana law does not permit incapacity spousal maintenance to be modified, noting it was incorrect. The court stated when an obligor spouse suffers a deterioration in financial condition that is the result of factors beyond his or her control, he or she should not be forced to continuing paying maintenance based on a better financial condition.  

Melissa Patterson v. State of Indiana
34A02-1203-CR-235
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of Patterson’s motion to the charges of aiding, inducing or causing invasion of privacy as a class A misdemeanor. Patterson was charged because she twice visited her fiancé after she had obtained a no-contact order against him. The COA held the Indiana General Assembly did not criminalize the actions of a protected person to invite the subject of a protective order to violate the terms of the order.

Granite State Insurance Company v. Robert Lodholtz and Pulliam Enterprises, Inc.
71A04-1111-CT-635
Civil Tort. Affirms in a 2-1 opinion the trial court denial of Granite State to intervene in a suit in which its claims administrator failed to respond to Lodholtz’s claim in a workplace injury suit, resulting in a default judgment and subsequent $3.9 million damages award. The majority held that because Granite State reserved a right to deny coverage in its offer to represent Pulliam in an effort to vacate the judgment, it had an interest that was at best contingent and insufficient to support intervention. Judge John Baker dissented, holding that Granite State’s interest is not being protected.

Bert S. Watkins, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1203-CR-103
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence for obstruction of justice, a Class D felony, with habitual offender enhancement.

Nicholas Corbin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1202-CR-161
Criminal. Affirms convictions of burglary as a Class B felony, burglary as a Class C felony, attempted burglary as a Class C felony, theft as a Class D felony, auto theft as a Class D felony, resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony and a Class A misdemeanor, three counts of receiving stolen property as a Class D felony, and criminal mischief as a Class B misdemeanor.

Brian Taskey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
67A04-1204-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery resulting in bodily injury and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. COA found the state presented sufficient evidence to prove Taskey committed the charged offenses.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: MS. and M.T.; and A.H. and T.S. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
07A04-1204-JT-217
Juvenile Termination of Parental Rights. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights of A.H. (mother) and T.S. (father) to their respective children.

William C. Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A04-1206-PC-307
Post Conviction Relief Petition. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. After the post-conviction court denied Davis’ petition the first time, the COA affirmed much of the decision but remanded for further proceedings related to several of Davis’ claims. The post-conviction court again denied Davis relief and the COA affirmed.

Henry Coyne Woodward v. Kimberlee Ann Norton (NFP)
71A03-1207-DR-311
Domestic Relation. Affirms money judgment in favor of Norton for Woodward’s failure to transfer funds from a retirement account to her. Reverses and remands for proceedings the order finding Woodward in contempt because the judgment that Woodward pay Norton a fixed amount is not enforceable by contempt.

Benito D. Lesiak v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1204-CR-183
Criminal. Affirms conviction of reckless homicide, a Class C felony.

Dewayne Walker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1204-CR-199
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary, finding trial court did properly deny Walker's request to instruct the jury on the less-included offense of residential entry.

Kenneth Meer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A04-1204-CR-193
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, as a Class A felony, and criminal deviate conduct, as a Class A felony.

Miles A. Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A01-1204-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 20-year aggregate sentence for convictions of three counts of burglary, each as a Class B felony, two counts of attempted burglary, each as a Class B felony, and one count of burglary as a Class C felony.
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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