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High Court accepts 7 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken seven cases on transfer, including a case in which the lower appellate court was split on a construction manager’s duty to an injured worker.

In The Hunt Construction Group, et al. v. Shannon D. Garrett, No. 49S02-1106-CT-365, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that many provisions of the contracts Hunt Construction entered into gave the company significant duties regarding safety on the jobsite, so it owed a duty to Shannon Garrett. Garrett, an employee of Baker Concrete, was injured while working on Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Judge Ezra Friedlander dissented on this point, believing the majority disregarded the provisions that limited Hunt Construction’s duties regarding safety and that their holding “will fundamentally alter contracts” of this nature and make it “virtually impossible for a contractor taking on the role of construction manager to limit its liability so as not to become an insurer of safety for workers of other contractors.”

The justices also accepted:
-    McCord Investments, LLC, et al. v. Sawmill Creek, LLC, et al., No. 49S02-1106-CV-364, in which the Court of Appeals affirmed the order granting the motion filed by Sawmill Creek to set aside a tax deed the auditor issued to McCord Investments because Sawmill Creek’s owner wasn’t provided constitutionally adequate notice of the tax sale;

-    Phyllis Hardy, et al. v. Mary Jo Hardy, No. 51S01-1106-PL-366, in which the COA held that the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act preempts state law claims brought by Phyllis Hardy seeking to keep her and her grandchild as beneficiaries of her ex-husband’s life insurance policy;

-    Thomas Dexter v. State of Indiana, No. 79S05-1106-CR-367, in which the COA affirmed Thomas Dexter’s conviction of Class A felony neglect of a dependent and determination of his habitual offenders status, finding expert witness testimony was admissible and the jury was properly instructed;

-    Richard S. Emmons v. State of Indiana, No. 79S04-1106-CR-368, in which the appellate court upheld the decision to deny Richard Emmons’ motion for sentence modification in a not-for-publication opinion;

-    Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 35S02-1106-CR-369, where the COA reversed the revocation of Troy Smith’s probation for not paying child support weekly, which was a condition of his probation. The judges held that a trial court may revoke probation for not satisfying a financial obligation only if the state proves by a preponderance of the evidence that there is less than full payment and the probationer submitted that smaller payment recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally. They found the state didn’t meet this burden of evidence to revoke Smith’s probation; and

-    Lamar M. Crawford v. State of Indiana, No. 49S05-1106-CR-370, in which the high court issued an opinion June 23.

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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