Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.

Douglas Richards, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board and United Steel, et al.
12-1973, 12-1984
On petitions for review of decisions and orders of the National Labor Relations Board. Dismisses the petitions for review because the petitioners no longer suffer an injury-in-fact and do not satisfy the statutory “aggrieved” requirement.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Medea Woods v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms denial of Woods’ partial motion to dismiss. Finds the state has alleged sufficient facts when the charging information and probable cause affidavit are considered together.

Slavojka Pistalo v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and The Estate of Iris M. Wilks, Deceased
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Progressive on Pistalo’s direct action against the company seeking a $333,600 excess judgment, which included post-judgment interest. Finds summary judgment was inappropriate because the issue of whether Progressive acted in bad faith has not been established in the designated materials as a matter of law. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Rail Road Company v. John Blaine Davidson, Admin. of the Estate of Carolyn Davidson, Deceased, and Tonya Kincaid, as Mother and Next Friend of Cierra Kincaid, a Minor
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of John Blaine Davidson and Tonya Kincaid with respect to Indiana Rail Road’s claim that their cause is preempted by federal law. The trial court properly denied the railroad’s motion for partial summary judgment, concluding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether federal preemption precludes the appellees’ claims with respect to the adequacy of traffic warning devices.

John T. Brightwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence and remands for correction.

Eric D. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Denies Smith’s motion for leave to file an appeal and dismisses it with prejudice.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of R.D. (Minor Child), and M.D. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Todd Fuller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 3-year sentence for Class D felony domestic battery in the presence of a child and Class A misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime.

Michael Craig v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Lee E. Davis, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Kent A. Easley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Donald and Jennie Walker v. Glenn Sermersheim (NFP)
Civil collections. Affirms order awarding the Walkers’ former attorney $14,800. Denies Sermersheims’ request for attorney fees.

Mark A. Guffey v. Deborah L. Guffey (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s request to modify custody and the trial court’s modification of his parenting time and child support obligation, and the finding that he owed a child support arrearage.

David Darst v. Indiana Dept. of Correction and Bruce Lemmon in his official capacity as Commissioner (NFP)
Civil tort. Reverses dismissal of Darst’s claims against the DOC, but affirms dismissal of his claim against Lemmon.

Robert J. Pearson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Elbert M. Jones, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Mark Allen Pratt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.

Leslee Orndorff v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Orndorff’s request for a preliminary injunction on suspending her license and remands for further proceedings. Finds she has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits of her laches defense and has carried her burden to establish the other requirements for a preliminary injunction.

Lisa A. Birkhimer v. Neil S. Birkhimer
Domestic relation. Finds the following issues require remand to the trial court: the trial court did not include Lisa’s debt to her father in the marital estate; the court allowed Lisa to deduct certain expenses from her income for child support purposes, but did not make findings supporting these deviations from the Child Support Guidelines; and the parties both agree that because Lisa is responsible for paying the children’s controlled expenses, the parenting time credit should be applied to Neil. Affirms in all other respects and remands with instructions.

Sharif Fields v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Billy Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal.  Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony domestic battery.

Robert D. Ratcliff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class C felony burglary and Class D felony auto theft.

In Re the Paternity of C.C.M.: M.M. v. V.K.H. (NFP)
Juvenile. Reverses parenting time order and remands for a redetermination of that issue in accordance with the opinion. Affirms trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to hold mother in contempt and order father pay a portion of mother’s attorney fees.

In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.R.: D.R. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Christopher White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms conviction of Class C felony fraud on a financial institution and denial of White’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Allen Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony attempted rape and Class A misdemeanor battery.

Jonathon P. Grigsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms reinstatement of previously suspended sentence following revocation of Grigsby’s probation.

Karl Kapanke, Universal Am-Can, Ltd., and M.C. Schmitt Trucking, Inc. v. James Stovall and Tracy Stovall (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for the Stovalls on their claims of negligence and loss of consortium following a jury trial.

Jeffrey Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and execution of the remainder of Adams’ suspended sentence.


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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon