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Opinions Aug. 27, 2014

August 27, 2014
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Judy Holcomb, Personal Representative of the Estate of Mable Louise Cochran, Deceased
49S05-1404-CC-209
Civil collection. Affirms award of $50,440 in attorney fees to the estate from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. The fee cap provision in the Medical Malpractice Act does not directly apply to the fund to limit its liability. The fund may be required to pay more than 15 percent in attorney fees.

Wednesday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Kenneth Owen Scrogham v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
13-3601
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Reverses denial of application for disability benefits and remands for further proceedings. The administrative law judge’s methodology was flawed in several respects. Three logical errors – overstating the significance of Scrogham’s daily activities, overreliance on his rehabilitative efforts as proof of his fitness for full-time work, and misinterpreting the significance of his extensive treatment – had a material effect on the ALJ’s credibility and residual functional capacity assessments.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Marquise Lee v. State of Indiana
49A02-1310-CR-869
Criminal. Grants rehearing and affirms Lee’s conviction of Class B felony attempted aggravated battery. Declines Lee’s request to follow the reasoning of the Young panel. Holds that he did not preserve this issue for appellate review and that the trial court did not commit fundamental error when it entered judgment against Lee for attempted aggravated battery as an inherently lesser included offense to the state’s charge of murder.

Thomas Walter Gorski v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A04-1404-CR-148
Criminal. Affirms 28-year aggregate sentence for Class B felony neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and attempted dealing in a narcotic drug as a Class B felony.

Cohen & Malad, LLP v. John P. Daly, Jr., Golitko & Daly, P.C. and Golitko Legal Group, P.C. (NFP)
29A02-1308-PL-741
Civil plenary. Affirms that Cohen & Malad is not due quantum meruit compensation from John Daly and Golitko & Daly after Daly took 24 cases with him when he left Cohen & Malad and joined Golitko & Daly.

Jaro Mayda II v. Melinda D. Barnette (NFP)
34A05-1403-CC-101
Civil collection. Affirms order granting Barnette’s motion to dismiss Mayda’s complaint against her alleging fraud, defamation and failure to repay a loan purportedly established by oral agreement.

Latoya C. Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1310-CR-867
Criminal. Grants rehearing, but declines to reverse conviction of Class B felony attempted aggravated battery.

Layne L. Dellamuth and Anita M. Dellamuth v. Ken's Carpets Unlimited, Inc. d/b/a Carpets Unlimited (NFP)
74A01-1404-CC-165
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Carpets Unlimited on its complaint against the Dellamuths for failure to pay a balance owed on an account.

Evanston Insurance Company and Markel Corporation v. Samantha Meeks Family Practice, Inc., Samantha Meeks, and George Edwin Grant, et al. (NFP)
33A01-1401-PL-32
Civil plenary. Reverses and remands with instructions to deny the summary judgment motion of Meeks and her practice and grant the summary judgment motion of Evanston Insurance and Markel Corp. over whether a policy was in effect when Meeks made her claim.  

Frank Blythe v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1312-CR-1061
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felonies dealing in a narcotic drug and dealing in a controlled substance.


 

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  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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