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Opinions May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Jill Finfrock a/k/a Jill Bastone v. Mark Finfrock
64A05-1209-DR-489
Domestic relation. Reverses award of attorney fees to Mark Finfrock. The award was based on perceived violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is inapplicable because Finfrock’s arrearage of child support is not considered “debt” under the Act. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by declining Jill Bastone’s request to enter a qualified domestic relations order to attach to the entirety of her ex-husband’s retirement account. Remands for further proceedings.

Glenn Patrick Bradford v. State of Indiana

82A01-1203-PC-129
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Bradford’s evidence that he claimed was newly discovered did not require a new trial. The court did not err in denying his claims of ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel.

Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, Inc. v. Elizabeth Bridgewater o/b/o Alyssa Bridgewater
93A02-1202-EX-145
Agency action. Affirms administrative law judge’s finding that Alyssa Bridgewater, who has dietary restrictions, was reasonably accommodated by FACES when it suggested she bring a meal to an event; and that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that FACES engaged in unlawful retaliation by expelling the Bridgewaters. Affirms the $2,500 granted to the Bridgewaters by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission for the retaliatory expulsion from the religious homeschooling organization. Reverses order that FACES post the ALJ’s decision on all websites on which they have communicated information regarding this case. Judge Bailey concurs in result.

Jesse Brown v. State of Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
41A01-1209-PL-404
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of DCS’ motion to dismiss Brown’s petition for judicial review and order that directed the agency to reimburse Brown $1,200 for the cost of preparing an agency record.

In the Matter of S.D.; J.B. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A05-1209-JC-488
Juvenile. Affirms determination S.D. is a child in need of services and the disposition ordered by the court.

B.B. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1210-JV-852
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication that B.B. committed what would be Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct if committed by an adult.

Philip R. Davis v. City of Fort Wayne (NFP)
02A03-1209-PL-385
Civil plenary. Affirms dismissal of Davis’ complaints for judicial review.

Leonard F. Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
43A04-1206-PC-322
Post conviction. Reverses the post-conviction court’s judgment against Williams on his claim that his guilty plea was involuntary and remands for the post-conviction court to hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue. Affirms the post-conviction denial of Williams’ petition on his claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court did not post any opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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  4. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

  5. For some strange reason this story, like many on this ezine that question the powerful, seems to have been released in two formats. Prior format here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263 That observed, I must note that it is quite refreshing that denizens of the great unwashed (like me) can be allowed to openly question powerful elitists at ICE MILLER who are on the public dole like Selby. Kudos to those at this ezine who understand that they cannot be mere lapdogs to the powerful and corrupt, lest freedom bleed out. If you wonder why the Senator resisted Selby, consider reading the comments here for a theory: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263

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