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Opinions May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Indiana Supreme Court

Stacy Smith and Robert Smith, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Johnny Dupree Smith, Deceased v. Delta Tau Delta, Inc. and Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, et al.
54S01-1405-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of national fraternity Delta Tau Delta on the Smiths’ wrongful death complaint. There is no designated evidentiary material that shows that the national fraternity had a right to exercise direct day-to-day oversight and control of the behavior of the activities of the local fraternity and its members. Concludes as a matter of law that an agency relationship does not exist between the national fraternity and the local fraternity or its members.

Larry Robert David, II, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Lisa Marie David, Deceased v. William Kleckner, M.D.
49S02-1405-MI-355
Miscellaneous. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Kleckner on David’s wrongful death medical malpractice complaint. Kleckner is not entitled to summary judgment on his defense asserting the medical malpractice statute of limitations.

Indiana Tax Court
David A. McKeeman, Sr., and Karen A. McKeeman v. Steuben County Assessor
02T10-1104-TA-31
Tax. Affirms Indiana Board of Tax Review’s decision upholding the McKeemans’ 2006 real property assessment. The board did not err in rejecting their claim regarding establishment of their neighborhood, the McKeemans have not shown that the board erred in upholding the $5,900 base rate applied to their land, and they have not shown that the board erred in concluding that their sales comparison analysis lacked probative value.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court

Derek Asklar and Pauline Asklar v. David Gilb, Paul Garrett Smith d/b/a P.H. One Trucking, Empire Fire & Marine Insurance Co. d/b/a Zurich Northland Insurance Co., Travelers Indemnity Co. of America
02S03-1305-CT-332
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment order capping Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Co.’s liability for uninsured motorist coverage at $75,000. Indiana law applies because the truck at issue was registered and garaged in Indiana. But issues of material fact remain regarding the applicable level of coverage. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Floyd William Treece v. State of Indiana
79A05-1309-CR-458
Criminal. Affirms revocation of community corrections placement. The Tippecanoe County Community Corrections had the authority to reject Treece from his placement in community corrections for a violation he committed while in the community transition program. He committed an act of violence, so the trial court did not abuse its discretion in revoking his community corrections placement. Remands for clarification of sentencing order.

Guardianship of Phyllis D. Hayes, an Adult, Joann Hayes and Dianna Hale v. Kenneth J. Hayes
52A02-1308-GU-751
Guardianship. Affirms denial of Hayes’ and Hale’s motion for summary judgment and the trial court order concluding that the execution of an option contract by their mother, Phyllis Hayes, to their brother was enforceable. The trial court’s conclusion that their mother was not acting under undue influence when she executed the option contract was not clearly erroneous.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department v. Donald A. Prout
49A04-1305-CR-236
Criminal. Affirms grant of Prout’s petition to expunge his arrest record. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that no offense was committed and that no probable cause existed to support either the filing or the prosecution of the charges. Prout, a sheriff’s deputy, was charged with four counts of Class D felony theft for allegedly working as a security guard while being paid by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Mauricio Reyes-Flores v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1310-CR-502
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal recklessness and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Lance Stover v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1310-CR-507
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Holly and Christopher Dunn, Holly and Benjamin Rothenbush, and Tomi and Michael Meyer v. Kathryn Davis and For the Children Medical Mission Foundation, Inc. (NFP)
02A03-1307-PL-269
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment to For the Children Medical Mission Foundation on breach of contract and fraud claims.

Anthony Flores v. Blake A. Hudson (NFP)
02A03-1307-PO-279
Protective order. Affirms dismissal of petition for the protective order sought against Hudson.

Ray A. Chamorro v. State of Indiana (NFP)
91A05-1309-CR-445
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Danny Shane Claspell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1310-CR-880
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting but reverses sentence and remands for it to be reduced to the advisory sentence of four years.

Dejuan D. Cox v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1310-CR-437
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony dealing in cocaine; reverses the sentencing order in part and remands for further proceedings.

Robert L. McFall v. State of Indiana (NFP)
62A05-1309-CR-446
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Remands for further sentencing proceedings on the charge of possession of paraphernalia.

Akeem Turner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1310-CR-900
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Steven Sullivan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1309-CR-750
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition to issue order terminating parole.

Gabriel Senteney v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1309-CR-818
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Latroya Rucker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1311-CR-918
Criminal. Affirms order that Rucker pay $240 in restitution to the owner of the vehicle whose windshield she smashed.

Betty Woods v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1309-CR-805
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct but reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Dennis Knight v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1401-CR-40
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.

R.C. v. J.Q. (NFP)
49A04-1308-DR-425
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court’s denial of father’s motion to continue the final hearing and concludes that father waived his claim of error under Evidence Rule 612. The trial court’s child support order is supported by the evidence. Remands with instructions to issue an order containing findings sufficient to support its decision to restrict father’s parenting time or enter a new order without the restriction.

In re the Paternity of T.T.: D.T. v. S.B. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms denial of petition to modify court-ordered child support for T.T.
85A02-1311-JP-1006

Mardel Hill v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1309-CR-378
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class B felony burglary, Class B felony attempted arson, Class D felony criminal mischief and Class D felony intimidation.

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

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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. 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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