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High court grants 6 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer today to decide whether casinos can ban card counters. The high court also granted transfer to five cases Thursday, including a case of first impression regarding post-retirement health-insurance premiums.

In Thomas P. Donovan v. Grand Victoria Casino & Resort, No. 49S02-1003-CV-124, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for the casino in Thomas Donovan's suit challenging his ban from the casino. The appellate court granted Donovan summary judgment on his request for declaratory judgment that the casino can't exclude him from playing blackjack because of his card counting. The Indiana Gaming Commission hasn't enacted a provision that bans card counting, and Grand Victoria can't simply take refuge in the common law right of exclusion, ruled the appellate court.

In Anne M. Bingley v. Charles B. Bingley, No. 02S03-1002-CV-122, the Court of Appeals ruled for the first time that post-retirement health-insurance premiums paid by a former employer aren't a marital asset subject to a division. The trial court didn't include Charles Bingley's employer-paid, post-retirement health-insurance premiums when dividing the couple's assets during the dissolution process.

Anne Bingley argued the payments fall under subsection 2 of Indiana Code Section 31-9-2-98(b), as a retirement benefit not forfeited upon the termination of employment, and cited several Indiana cases that found pension benefits to be marital assets. But the Court of Appeals ruled the premiums weren't a marital asset subject to division. The cases Anne cited involved monthly monetary payments made directly to the pension-holding spouse; Charles' benefit wasn't payable to him but was non-elective and couldn't be divided or transferred, wrote Judge Elaine Brown.

In his concurring opinion, Judge Terry Crone encouraged the Indiana General Assembly to address a perceived ambiguity in the definition of "retirement benefits" and "vested" in terms of the Internal Revenue Code.

In Indiana High School Athletic Association v. Jasmine S. Watson, No. 71S03-1002-CV-119, a majority on the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's finding that the Indiana High School Athletic Association acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it ruled Jasmine Watson was ineligible to play basketball at a high school she transferred to just before her senior year. The majority also upheld an injunction placed by the trial court to prevent the IHSAA from enforcing the decision.

Watson's family claimed the transfer was caused by her mother's work hours being cut, the impending foreclosure of their home, and extended family living in South Bend.

Even though Watson has since graduated, the Court of Appeals took the case because if they found she was ineligible, it could force the high school to forfeit wins or awards. Even taking into account the IHSAA evidence that Watson and her mother had spoken about transferring prior to her mother's work hours being cut, the majority focused on the family's financial situation as the primary reason they moved to South Bend.

Judge Ezra Friedlander dissented because he thought the evidence supported the finding Watson was ineligible to play her senior year.

The justices granted transfer to In the Matter of the Estate of Harry L. Rickert, No. 18S04-1002-CV-118, in which one Court of Appeals judge believed In Re Estate of Banko, 622 N.E.2d 476, 480 (Ind. 1993), was binding, causing his dissent. Judge Michael Barnes disagreed with the majority that Banko doesn't apply to Rickert. He urged the high court to reconsider Banko's breadth given that an unscrupulous caregiver could take advantage of someone and get joint tenancy of accounts.

Carole Baker, as personal representative and beneficiary, argued the accounts opened by Harry Rickert's caretaker should be considered property of the estate. The trial court ruled the accounts presumptively belong to caregiver Keta Taylor unless the estate could prove "a different intention" on Rickert's part when they were created. The majority reversed and remanded for further proceedings because Rickert couldn't have had any intention regarding the ownership of the accounts at his death because he was allegedly incompetent in the last few years of his life when the accounts were made. The majority also held Banko doesn't require application of the Non-Probate Transfer Act statutory presumption in favor of Taylor as payable on death beneficiary or joint account holder under the facts of the case.

In U.S. Bank N.A. v. Integrity Land Title Corp., No. 17S03-1002-CV-120, the appellate court reversed the trial court's denial of U.S. Bank's motion to correct error and motion for relief from judgment in its contract claim against Integrity. There was a genuine issue of material fact whether Integrity contracted as a principal or an agent and whether Integrity breached the contract. Later on rehearing, a majority of COA judges allowed the parties to raise arguments for the first time in a response to a hearing before the appellate court. In response to U.S. Bank's petition for rehearing, Integrity raised new issues. Judge Melissa May dissented, finding the court's rules don't allow Integrity to raise the new argument and allowing it to do so effectively deprived U.S. Bank of an opportunity to respond.

In Christine Dugan v. Mittal Steel USA Inc., and Jay Komorowski, No. 45S05-1002-CV-121, the appellate court affirmed summary judgment for Mittal and Jay Komorowski as to the statements described in Paragraph 6 of Dugan's complaint for defamation. Dugan was fired from Mittal following an investigation of an alleged theft ring in the department where she worked. The judges reversed summary judgment in favor of Mittal and Komorowski as to Paragraph 7 of Dugan's complaint and remanded for further proceedings on that portion of her defamation claim. Mittal failed to establish as a matter of law that the statement is protected by the common interest privilege.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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