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Justices take 6 cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to six cases and declined to take 22 others.

In State of Indiana v. Andy J. Velasquez II, No. 53S05-1105-CR-280, the state appealed following the acquittal of Andy Velasquez for Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting of his stepdaughter. The state argued, among other issues, that the trial court abused its discretion by concluding the testimony of clinical social worker Judy Kline, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Spencer, and victim G.S.’s grandmother constituted vouching testimony.

The Indiana Court of Appeals found the trial court erred in excluding their testimonies, but double jeopardy grounds barred a second trial since Velasquez had been acquitted.

In Keith M. Ramsey, M.D. v. Shella Moore, et al., No. 45S05-1105-CT-281, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of Methodist Hospital’s motion to dismiss Shella Moore’s proposed medical malpractice claim, but reversed the denial of Dr. Keith Ramsey’s motion to dismiss Moore’s medical malpractice complaint against him. The appellate court was split as to whether the trial court’s disposition in this case was final.

In Indiana Department of Insurance, et al. v. Robin Everhart, No. 84S01-1105-CV-282, the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment in favor of Robin Everhart on her claim against the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. The judges held it isn’t consistent with Supreme Court precedent to hold the fund liable for more than the increased risk of harm that the doctor caused. Several months later, the appellate court split in denying a rehearing on the matter.

Judge Margret Robb wanted to grant the rehearing and believed the appellate court shouldn’t have applied Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 323 in the original opinion. Section 323 outlines that one is liable for harm to another if the failure to exercise reasonable care increases the risk of such harm. It allows the plaintiff to avoid summary judgment on the issue of proximate cause even when there was a less than 50 percent chance of recovery absent the negligence.

In LaPorte Community School Corp., et al. v. Maria Rosales, No. 46S04-1105-CT-284, the appellate court held the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by admitting deposition testimony from an expert regarding school safety and school emergency plans. The judges also found the trial court properly denied the school’s motion for judgment on the evidence as to negligence and properly granted Maria Rosales’ motion for judgment on the evidence as to contributory negligence. They also concluded the jury wasn’t properly instructed regarding negligence and that was a reversible error. The matter was remanded for a new trial. Judge Terry Crone concurred in part and dissented in part.

In D.R. v. Review Board, No. 93S02-1105-EX-285, the Court of Appeals released a not-for-publication opinion affirming the decision by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development denying D.R.’s unemployment benefits. D.R. claimed the record didn’t support the board’s decision to deny her full unemployment benefits.

In Antoine D. Hill v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-1105-PC-283, the COA reversed the denial of Antoine Hill’s petition for post-conviction relief in an NFP decision. They concluded Hill’s post-conviction attorney abandoned him on appeal, so he was denied the fair setting for post-conviction relief contemplated by Baum v. State, 533 N.E.2d 1200 (Ind. 1989). They remanded with instructions to grant his petition.  

In addition to denying transfer to 22 cases, the justices vacated an order granting transfer to Tonya M. Peete v. State of Indiana, No. 49S05-1104-CR-201; and dismissed Dan Cristiani Excavating Co. Inc v. Jeremy & Kerri Money, No. 10A05-1002-CT-114.

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