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Opinions June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert Yeftich, et al. v. Navistar Inc. and Indianapolis Casting Corp.
12-2964
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of complaint filed by group of unionized workers alleging breach of collective-bargaining agreement under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The complaint lacked enough factual content to plead a plausible claim for breach of the duty of fair representation, which is required to pursue this litigation.

Indiana Supreme Court
Tim Berry, Auditor of State; M. Caroline Spotts, Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives; and The State of Indiana/ Brian C. Bosma, Speaker v. William Crawford, et al.
49S00-1201-PL-53 and 49S00-1202-PL-76
Civil plenary. Reversed the judgment of the trial court, remands and directs the trial court to grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of justiciability. A split court ruled the  House of Representatives has the authority, granted by the Indiana Constitution, to levy fines against members of the House Democratic Caucus for leaving during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions. Moreover, the doctrine of separation of powers precludes judicial consideration of the Democrats’ claims for relief. Justice Robert Rucker dissented, arguing the House’s constitutionally granted discretion to punish its members does not include the ability to reduce its members’ compensation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC v. Jeffrey A. Curatolo, Et Al.,
45A03-1211-MF-469
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses order modifying Nationstar Mortgage’s mortgage agreement with Curatolo. The trial court lacked the authority to modify the agreement without the consent of both parties.

Bertram A. Graves, M.D. v. Richard Kovacs, M.D., Edward Ross, M.D., and Indiana University Health f;/k/a Clarian Health Partners, Inc.
49A05-1301-PL-1
Civil plenary. Reverses the granting of judgment on the pleadings in favor of Kovacs and Ross and remands for further proceedings. The court found that although Graves’ complaint may have been unartfully drafted, the trial court erred in concluding that the complaint failed to state any actionable claim against Kovacs and Ross.     
 
Duane Crocker v. State of Indiana

79A04-1210-CR-542
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Crocker’s motion to suppress evidence. The court ruled Crocker should have been Mirandized as soon as he entered the police car and therefore his incriminating statements should have been suppressed. However, Crocker had signed a ‘Pirtle’ form and did not admit to knowing he was transporting marijuana until after he consented to the search of his vehicle.

Dartanyan Porche v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A04-1206-CR-328
Criminal. Affirms Porche’s conviction of felony murder and 55-year sentence.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of J.F. and D.F. and S.K. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
48A02-1211-JT-905
Juvenile termination. Affirms trial court’s judgment to terminate parental rights of S.K. and D.F.

Frank Tiller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1211-CR-571
Criminal. Affirms Tiller’s conviction of felony murder following a jury trial. The court ruled that given the blood stain evidence and the close proximity in time and location that Tiller was to the victim, a reasonable trier of fact could conclude Tiller was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Thomas A. Dexter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A05-1210-PC-557
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Dexter’s petition for post-conviction relief.   

Lake Shore Estates MHC, LLC. v. Michael H. Lane, Et Al. (NFP)
71A05-1210-PL-512
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of the government defendants and the collection agent.  

Charles C. Hitt v. State of Indiana (NFP)

42A04-1210-CR-508
Criminal.  Affirms denial of Hitt’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine. The court ruled Hitt did not show that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his request to withdraw his plea.  

David Lautenschlager v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1211-PC-653
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Lautenschlager’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.M. and M.M.; R.M. and Indiana Department of Child Services, Annette Marion and Kenneth Marion (NFP)
02A04-1209-JC-468
Juvenile. Affirms the trial court’s order or judgment of the court awarding custody of C.M. and M.M. to their grandparents, K.M. and A.M.  

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of J.C. and R.C. and S.C. and R.C. Sr., S.C. & R.C. Sr. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
71A03-1211-JT-501
Juvenile termination. Affirms court’s order to terminate parental rights to J.C. and R.C., Jr.

The Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions prior to 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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