Indiana Court of Appeals

Church not entitled to $322,000 on breach of contract claim

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it determined that a church was entitled to $322,000 on its breach of contract claim after its building lessor ordered the church to vacate the premises before the end of its contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Doctor’s criminal charges provide 2 first impression issues

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide two issues of first impression Thursday in an appeal regarding charges of reckless homicide and issuing an invalid prescription for legend drugs by a practitioner against an Indianapolis doctor.
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COA: Law doesn’t require insurer to provide UIM coverage

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred by denying an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment regarding underinsured motorist coverage because a law change in 2005 no longer required it to provide that coverage.
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COA won’t rehear injured immigrant worker’s case

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals will not revisit its divided ruling that an injured masonry laborer’s immigration status is valid evidence in his lawsuit against the general contractor at his worksite.
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COA orders new trial on vicarious liability issue

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A new jury will decide whether a Sony employee in Terre Haute was acting in the scope of his employment when he hit a security guard on the property while driving to recycle personal items on company property.
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Evidence supports order to raze uninhabited home

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Grant County Area Plan Commission provided enough evidence to support the trial court’s decision to order a home torn down because it is not up to code and is uninhabitable, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Trial court properly reinstated demoted police officer’s rank

July 13, 2016
 Associated Press
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that a judge could order a police officer’s rank returned to sergeant instead of sending the matter back to the police merit board for further proceedings.
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COA: Plea agreement doesn’t prevent court from considering certain evidence

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A Greensburg father who pleaded guilty to felony dangerous control of a child after his young son accidently shot his future stepbrother lost his claim before the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court shouldn’t have considered evidence relating to a dismissed charge.
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Brutal Indy home invasion leader gets sentence tweak

July 12, 2016
Dave Stafford
The alleged ringleader of six men who brutalized, shot and sexually assaulted three north side Indianapolis residents in their home will still likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after the Indiana Court of Appeals modestly reduced his sentence Tuesday.
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Power of attorney may trump guardianship order

July 12, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
An elaborate court ruling that sought to bring family harmony by appointing each of six siblings as co-guardians over a specific area of their elderly mother’s life may have hit a sour note because of a 12-year-old power of attorney which remains valid.
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Plea agreement provision ‘constitutionally suspect,’ COA finds

July 8, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A man who had taken steps to prepare for home detention but was committed for mental health reasons when he was to report to community corrections should not have been ordered to serve his sentence in the Department of Correction, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Continuous crime doctrine requires reversal of 2 domestic battery convictions

July 8, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Because the evidence showed a man’s acts of domestic violence against his now ex-wife constituted a single transaction for purposes of the continuing crime doctrine, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed two of the man’s three convictions.
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Unlicensed social worker must answer accused molester’s questions

July 6, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that an unlicensed social worker who provided services to the victim of a man accused of molestation is not protected under the counselor/client privilege in I.C. 25-23.6-6.1. As a result, the woman must answer four questions her attorney previously advised her not to answer.
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COA affirms excess damages award in med-mal case

July 5, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the evidence before it, a trial court correctly awarded a man $300,000 in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund after an Indianapolis hospital missed the signs he was having a stroke, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Robber’s use of debit card is forgery, COA affirms

July 1, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that he couldn’t be convicted of forgery under Indiana law because using his robbery victims’ ATM cards did not qualify as “uttering a written instrument.”
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COA reverses lifetime sex offender registration, upholds ban from school property

July 1, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a man challenging his lifetime registration as a sex offender that the law as applied to him violates the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition against ex post facto laws. But he lost a similar challenge to the unlawful-entry statute that prohibits him from entering school property.
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COA majority rules dog sniff did not prolong stop

June 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a woman’s motion to suppress evidence found at a traffic stop in a 2-1 decision after the court ruled the stop was not extended by an officer’s check of the car with his dog.
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Evidence found during arrest for public intox is admissible, COA rules

June 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s misdemeanor cocaine possession conviction after it held the search an officer conducted after finding the man asleep in his car did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights and thus the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the cocaine found during the search.
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Majority: 2 shoplifting charges not RICO violations

June 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision the state went too far when it convicted a man who committed two acts of shoplifting under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and reversed his conviction for corrupt business influence.
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COA: Failure to give breath test sample was refusal to take test

June 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a woman refused a chemical breath test, noting the officer giving the test followed all the proper procedures and was within his rights to determine she refused the test after she failed to give a valid sample three times.
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COA: Minors’ malpractice suit can continue

June 29, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by minor children can continue after it found the suit was not untimely filed. The children were in the correct age range to trigger an exception in the Medical Malpractice Act.
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COA: Death during robbery is felony murder

June 29, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals found evidence was sufficient to uphold a robber’s conviction of felony murder after one of his accomplices was killed in a fight with a robbery victim.
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Deadline for mandatory e-filing nears for Hamilton County, Indiana appellate courts

June 29, 2016
Dave Stafford
Ready or not, the era of e-filing begins July 1 for everyone submitting court documents in Hamilton County and in Indiana’s appellate courts. There’s evidence that despite the buildup over recent months, many lawyers and filers may be caught off guard.
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Are old convictions still relevant?

June 29, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who admitted fault and negligence for a Lake County drunken-driving crash is appealing damages of $2 million awarded in the case, claiming the jury was wrongly provided evidence of his prior alcohol-related driving convictions that were 17 and 30 years old.
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COA: Couple proved adverse possession of land along fence

June 28, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between neighbors over a property line, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that a Johnson County couple satisfied the elements needed to be successful in their adverse possession and quiet title counterclaim.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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