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Opinions March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Kimberly Heaton v. State of Indiana
48S02-1206-CR-350
Criminal. Holds the statutorily mandated preponderance of the evidence standard is the correct legal standard to be applied in a probation revocation proceeding where the state claims that the probationer committed a new criminal offense while on probation. Vacates finding Heaton violated her probation and orders a new determination of whether she violated the conditions of her probation by a preponderance of the evidence pursuant to I.C. 35-38-2-3(e) (2008), and if so, what is the appropriate sanction for such violation.

Wednesday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court

Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. Amco Insurance Company
33S01-1206-CT-312
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Amco Insurance Co. on its motion for declaratory judgment to enforce its reading of the insurance contract with the hotel disclaiming coverage for, and its duty to defend against, a civil complaint brought by a motel guest molested by an off-duty motel employee. The facts of the case reflect precisely the sort of scenario contemplated by the parties to be excluded from coverage when they agreed to the insurance contract. Chief Justice Dickson concurs and Justice Rucker dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Alva Electric, Inc., Arc Construction Co., Inc., Danco Construction, Inc., Deig Brothers Lumber & Construction Co., Inc., et al. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., and EVSC Foundation, Inc.
http://media.ibj.com/Lawyer/websites/opinions/index.php?pdf=2013/march/03061301jsk.pdf
82A01-1201-PL-2
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the school corporation and the foundation on the contractors’ suit for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, claiming the school corporation’s renovation of an administrative building should have been subject to the competitive bidding procedures required for a public work project under Indiana Code 36-1-12-4 and that the actions taken to accomplish the renovation constituted an antitrust violation under Indiana Code 24-1-2-3. The scheme used by the school corporation has not been authorized by the General Assembly and violates public bidding laws. Judge Friedlander dissents.

The First Baptist Church of Hammond v. Felipe Andrade, a minor, by his mother and custodial parent, Manuela Andrade (NFP)
45A05-1207-CT-354
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Felipe Andrade on his lawsuit after he was injured at an activity hosted by the church, the finding he was 45 percent at fault for his injuries, and reduction of his recovery accordingly.

Damion Martin v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1206-CR-473
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of murder, one count of Class B felony aggravated battery, and three counts of Class C felony battery.

Brian Rinearson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

34A02-1209-CR-715
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license and sentence of 365 days incarceration, all suspended.

City of Muncie v. Stanley Benford (NFP)

18A02-1207-CR-549
Criminal. Affirms order setting aside an earlier order dismissing a forfeiture claim brought by the city against Stanley Benford.

Leonard Beaty v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1107-CR-384
Criminal. Affirms three convictions of Class A felony child molesting.

In the Matter of: B.G., a Child in Need of Services; B.T. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A02-1208-JC-642
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication of B.G. as a child in need of services.

Calvin Horton v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A05-1207-CR-371
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections and order that Horton serve remainder of his sentence at the Department of Correction.

Christopher Groce and Tracey Groce v. American Family Insurance Company and Michael A. Meek (NFP)
48A02-1208-CT-703
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for American Family and Meek after the Groces filed a complaint for damages against them alleging negligence and breach of contract.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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