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Opinions Aug. 26, 2014

August 26, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Smith v. Richard Brown
12-3731
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division.
Judge James T. Moody
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Smith’s habeas petition. Finds although Smith’s counsel appeared to be particularly deficient, Smith failed to demonstrate how his lawyer’s substandard effort prejudiced his case since there was overwhelming evidence against him.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Lamont Carpenter v. State of Indiana
02A05-1309-CR-467
Criminal. Affirms convictions of five counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class B felony unlawful possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon, Class C felony possession of a handgun with altered identifying marks, and Class D felony possession of marijuana. Finds that as the jury was not aware Carpenter was a serious violent felon, he was not prejudiced by the partial  bifurcation of his trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting mail with his name and address taken during a search of his home because it was not hearsay, and Carpenter was not subjected to double jeopardy when he was convicted of possession of a firearm by an SVF and possession of a handgun with altered identifying marks.

In re the Marriage of: Wade R. Meisberger v. Margaret Bishop f/k/a Margaret Meisberger
39A01-1402-DR-76
Domestic relation. Remands trial court order on all pending issues denying Wade Meisberger’s motion to modify parenting time and motion to correct error, instructing the trial court to make necessary findings in order to restrict father’s parenting time such that parenting time for father, now incarcerated, might endanger his son’s physical health or significantly impair his emotional development.

Daryl Schweitzer and Lynn Schweitzer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company and Jennifer Gholson Insurance Agency
45A03-1307-CT-248
Civil tort. Affirms entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, finding the Schweitzers were not entitled to additional payments under their homeowner’s insurance policy after a fire destroyed their home and insurance provided total payments of $326,040 for the dwelling.

Jeffrey Crider v. Christina Crider
53A05-1307-DR-358, 53A04-1401-DR-26
Domestic relation. Reverses decision to automatically vest “ownership and control” in stocks and membership interests of Jeff Crider upon his failure to pay a $4.7 million equalization judgment within 180 days. Affirms order he pay Christina Crider that equalization judgment, plus interest accruing after 90 days and to pay any attorney fees she incurs in collecting the judgment. Finds the trial court’s decision to modify his child support obligation after an appeal had been initiated in this case is void and the child support obligation remains at $308 per week. Remands for further proceedings. Affirms in all other respects.

Steven Anderson v. State of Indiana
49A02-1309-CR-788
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony escape for violation of home detention, holding that the court did not err by admitting evidence of events preceding Anderson’s arrest, including evidence from the company that monitored his ankle bracelet showing he was not in his home after he was required to be.   

Ann Withers v. State of Indiana
48A02-1403-CR-130
Criminal. Affirms termination of placement in drug court program and order reinstating an executed 5-year, 6-month prison sentence for convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors, and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. The trial court was authorized to take judicial notice of electronically signed attendance reports showing Withers had missed multiple mental health appointments, and it did not abuse its discretion in terminating her participation in drug court.  

State of Indiana v. Brandon Scott Schulze
73A01-1311-CR-471
Criminal. Reverses the trial court’s order reinstating Schulze’s driving privileges. Schulze, who was barred from driving after he refused to take a chemical test for alcohol intoxication, argued the suspension of his license was invalid because the arresting officer was not certified to administer the chemical test. The COA finds Schulze’s argument fails because state statute does not require the arresting officer to be trained to perform a chemical test and, if Schulze had agreed to submit to the test, the officer could have found a qualified person to give the test.   

Louise Frontz, Guardian of the Person and Estate of Brian O'Neal Frontz, and Brian Frontz v. Middletown Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sinclair Glass
05A04-1307-PL-364
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Middletown Enterprises. Finds although Frontz was a temporary worker assigned to Middletown, the company was his joint employer along with the temp agency. Therefore, Frontz cannot file a lawsuit against Middletown seeking remedy for his severe injuries but can only file a workers’ compensation claim against the company.

Lawrence Mulry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1312-CR-1035
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Jose B. Rodriguez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1309-CR-491
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class A felony child molesting. Finds although the trial court did abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of extra-jurisdictional prior bad acts, the error was harmless.

In re the Marriage of: Robin D. (Hanson) Blankenship and James E. Hanson, James E. Hanson v. Robin D. (Hanson) Blankenship (NFP)
41A05-1310-DR-511
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of James Hanson’s petition to modify child support and granting of Robin Blankenship’s verified petition for rule to show cause, holding Hanson in contempt based on his child support arrearage. Judge James Kirsch dissents. He argues the trial court did abuse its discretion in denying the modification and recommends the court reverse the order and remand with instructions to enter a new child support order.

Leroy Shoaff v. Denisa Dekker (NFP)
45A05-1401-CT-43
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for $386,000 against Shoaff for his fault in a 2007 motor vehicle accident that injured Dekker’s knee.

Fernando Miranda v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1401-CR-10
Criminal. Affirms convictions for Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

Orange County v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Daniel Harris (NFP)
93A02-1403-EX-144
Civil. Affirms the Review Board of the Department of Workforce Development’s determination that Orange County did not file a timely appeal to the decision that Harris was eligible for unemployment benefits.

Destiny Skeen v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Hub Restaurant LLP (NFP)
93A02-1401-EX-57
Civil. Reverses decision by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that Skeen was discharged for just cause. Concludes the Review Board decision was not supported by substantial evidence.
 

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  1. Living in South Bend, I travel to Michigan a lot. Virtually every gas station sells cold beer there. Many sell the hard stuff too. Doesn't seem to be a big deal there.

  2. Mr. Ricker, how foolish of you to think that by complying with the law you would be ok. Don't you know that Indiana is a state that welcomes monopolies, and that Indiana's legislature is the one entity in this state that believes monopolistic practices (such as those engaged in by Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers) make Indiana a "business-friendly" state? How can you not see this????

  3. Actually, and most strikingly, the ruling failed to address the central issue to the whole case: Namely, Black Knight/LPS, who was NEVER a party to the State court litigation, and who is under a 2013 consent judgment in Indiana (where it has stipulated to the forgery of loan documents, the ones specifically at issue in my case)never disclosed itself in State court or remediated the forged loan documents as was REQUIRED of them by the CJ. In essence, what the court is willfully ignoring, is that it is setting a precedent that the supplier of a defective product, one whom is under a consent judgment stipulating to such, and under obligation to remediate said defective product, can: 1.) Ignore the CJ 2.) Allow counsel to commit fraud on the state court 3.) Then try to hide behind Rooker Feldman doctrine as a bar to being held culpable in federal court. The problem here is the court is in direct conflict with its own ruling(s) in Johnson v. Pushpin Holdings & Iqbal- 780 F.3d 728, at 730 “What Johnson adds - what the defendants in this suit have failed to appreciate—is that federal courts retain jurisdiction to award damages for fraud that imposes extrajudicial injury. The Supreme Court drew that very line in Exxon Mobil ... Iqbal alleges that the defendants conducted a racketeering enterprise that predates the state court’s judgments ...but Exxon Mobil shows that the Rooker Feldman doctrine asks what injury the plaintiff asks the federal court to redress, not whether the injury is “intertwined” with something else …Because Iqbal seeks damages for activity that (he alleges) predates the state litigation and caused injury independently of it, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not block this suit. It must be reinstated.” So, as I already noted to others, I now have the chance to bring my case to SCOTUS; the ruling by Wood & Posner is flawed on numerous levels,BUT most troubling is the fact that the authors KNOW it's a flawed ruling and choose to ignore the flaws for one simple reason: The courts have decided to agree with former AG Eric Holder that national banks "Are too big to fail" and must win at any cost-even that of due process, case precedent, & the truth....Let's see if SCOTUS wants a bite at the apple.

  4. I am in NJ & just found out that there is a judgment against me in an action by Driver's Solutions LLC in IN. I was never served with any Court pleadings, etc. and the only thing that I can find out is that they were using an old Staten Island NY address for me. I have been in NJ for over 20 years and cannot get any response from Drivers Solutions in IN. They have a different lawyer now. I need to get this vacated or stopped - it is now almost double & at 18%. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  5. I am in NJ & just found out that there is a judgment against me in an action by Driver's Solutions LLC in IN. I was never served with any Court pleadings, etc. and the only thing that I can find out is that they were using an old Staten Island NY address for me. I have been in NJ for over 20 years and cannot get any response from Drivers Solutions in IN. They have a different lawyer now. I need to get this vacated or stopped - it is now almost double & at 18%. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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