Opinions Nov. 20, 2013

November 20, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Spears on their claims of title by acquiescence and adverse possession and denial of summary judgment for the Garrets. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.

Tony Sluder v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. The evidence was insufficient to establish that Sluder intended to use the syringe to introduce a controlled substance into his body.

Thomas Haggerty and Cathy Haggerty v. Anonymous Party 1, Anonymous Party 2, and Anonymous Party 3
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part. The trial court had jurisdiction to rule on the issue of immunity because it is an affirmative defense. Concludes that the Haggertys’ suit against the anonymous parties is barred by statutory immunity. Affirms the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, on immunity grounds, to AP1. Concludes that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether immunity also applies to AP2 and AP3; thus, reverses the trial court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment. Judge Baker dissents in part.

The City of Fort Wayne v. Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. d/b/a All-Phase Electric Supply Co.
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment for All-Phase on its unpaid subcontractor’s claim served on the mayor of Fort Wayne and against the city. When read in conjunction with relevant statutory provisions, I.C. 36-1-12-12 allowed All-Phase to serve notice of its unpaid subcontractor’s claim on the mayor of Fort Wayne. Also finds that All-Phase provided timely notice of its claim.

In Re The Paternity of B.B., R.B. v. T.J.
Juvenile. Affirms order modifying custody, visitation and support of B.B. to mother T.J. The court ruled that the mother was in the best position to act as B.B.’s primary caretaker and awarded her physical custody. After review, COA cannot say that the court’s findings or conclusions were clearly erroneous and concludes that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting her petition to modify custody.

John S. Paniaguas, Kathy R. Paniaguas, Woodrow Cornett, III, and Kristine E. Cornett v. Endor, Inc. et al (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms order that determined that the appellee homeowners’ homes were in compliance with the restrictive covenants of the subdivision.

In The Matter of The Estate of Charles W. Merlau, Deceased, Patricia Trout v. C. Thomas Cone, et al (NFP)
Estate, unsupervised. Affirms in part and reverses in part, and remands with instructions to conduct further proceedings. The successor representative improperly valued the stock, in that it should have been valued as of the date of distribution rather than on the date of the decedent’s death. All of the heirs should share equally in the payment of the taxes and the loss that was incurred on the stock. A subsequent hearing needs to be conducted that also addresses the issue of an administrative claim that the business lodged against the estate.

Dino D. Hickmon, Sr v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 22-year sentence for two convictions of Class B felony incest.

Howard Moffitt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and Class C misdemeanor operating never having received a license.

Carlowe Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent child.

Tawon L. Wright v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony possession of cocaine.

George Cunitz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence following convictions for two counts of Class B felony burglary.

Eric Rasnick v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions and 36-year sentence for Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

The Indiana Supreme Court and 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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.