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Opinions Dec. 17, 2013

December 17, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Gas Company, Inc. and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company, et al v. Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC
93S02-1306-EX-407
Agency action. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a contract between Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC that obligates the state to purchase synthetic natural gas that would be produced at a coal-gasification plant in Rockport. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals had invalidated the contract, but justices agreed that the IURC’s decision should be affirmed because the parties modified the disputed portion of the contract.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. v. Gregory S. Schafer and Shane Schafer b/n/f Gregory S. Schafer
37A03-1303-CP-86
Civil plenary. Affirms award of more than $86,000 in fees to the Schafers for IHSAA’s unreasonable conduct in pursuing litigation after courts repeatedly called rules it sought to enforce to declare Schafer ineligible arbitrary and capricious. The trial court was within its discretion to hold IHSAA’s conduct unreasonable and consider multiple rulings against IHSAA in reaching the decision to impose fees.

Jason Young v. Hood's Gardens, Inc.
29A02-1303-PL-298
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Hood’s that it was not secondarily liable for payment of workers’ compensation benefits to Young. Judge James Kirsch dissents, arguing Hood’s did not establish that the value of services provided by Young’s boss did not exceed $1,000.

Indiana Restorative Dentistry, P.C. v. The Laven Insurance Agency, Inc., and Proassurance Indemnity Company, Inc. f/k/a The Medical Assurance Company, Inc.
49A05-1212-PL-627
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Laven and Proassurance, holding that Laven had a special duty to procure full coverage based on its past dealings with IRD. Remands to the trial court to enter summary judgment to IRD with respect to Laven’s duty to advise and procure, and remands for proceedings regarding Proassurance’s vicarious liability.

Christopher D. Bunch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1303-CR-227
Criminal. Affirms Bunch’s 80-year executed sentence for pleading guilty to five counts of child molesting, each as a Class A felony.

In the Matter of the Commitment of T.G. (NFP)
19A05-1306-MH-303
Mental health. Affirms regular mental health commitment order.

Kelly S. Craig v. State of Indiana (NFP)
63A05-1209-PC-494
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Craig’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Carl E. Ascherman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1305-CR-237
Criminal. Affirms Ascherman’s 20-year executed sentence following a conviction for one count of attempted child molesting, a Class B felony, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Class A misdemeanors.

Ayanna Earls v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1304-CR-364
Criminal. Affirms conviction for battery, a Class A misdemeanor.

Christopher Turner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1304-PC-168
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Turner’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Donald L. Deputy v. Connie S. Deputy (NFP)
30A04-1303-DR-108
Domestic relation. Affirms order that father pay for son’s college room and board. Reverses order that father maintain health insurance and health care costs on children and remands for the order to be amended that the duty to maintain health care coverage is contingent upon his children remaining enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution. Judge Elaine Brown concurs in part and dissents in part.  

Adam S. Fiers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A04-1306-CR-320
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Fiers’ probation and sentencing him to serve six months on work release for failing to meet the financial obligations of his probation.

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

 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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