Civil Case

COA: Summons should notify of risk of default judgment

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Due process requires that a respondent in a dissolution proceeding be notified of the risk of default for not appearing or otherwise responding, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. The judges reversed a couple’s decree of dissolution, ruling it was void because the summons served on the wife was insufficient.
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SCOTUS denies one Indiana case, sidesteps others for now

February 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States denied one prisoner lawsuit from Indiana today, while not saying whether it will address another case from this state on judicial speech. No decision was made on a third Hoosier case it heard arguments on more than a month ago addressing vehicular flight.
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Judges address first impression issue on attorney fees

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
For the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed a contract that included a provision stating the signee is responsible for 40 percent in attorney fees if a hospital had to initiate collection efforts to recover amounts owed.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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COA: Juror bias should have been examined

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a surgeon accused of medical malpractice during a stem cell collection procedure in which the patient died, finding that the trial court didn’t follow protocol in examining a potential juror’s impartiality and deciding whether to strike that person from the jury pool.
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COA reverses and remands CHINS finding regarding stepfather

February 15, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
After the juvenile court adjudicated two minor children as children in need of services following their mother’s admission to allegations filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel today reversed and remanded that finding in favor of the stepfather, who denied the allegations and asked for a fact-finding hearing. One Court of Appeals judge dissented, writing that she disagreed that the trial court violated the stepfather’s right to due process in this case.
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Court reverses class certification in hail-damage action

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the class certification granted by the District Court in a suit brought by unsatisfied homeowners following a 2006 hailstorm in central Indiana.
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Appeals court reverses summary judgment for pharmacist, CVS

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a pharmacist working in a Hendricks County CVS had a duty of care to a customer to either warn her of the side effects of a drug or withhold the medication. As a result, the judges reversed summary judgment in favor of the drug store and pharmacist in a negligence suit.
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Judge reverses probate court in first opinion

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Martha Wentworth has handed down her first opinion as Indiana’s Tax Court judge. In her decision, she reversed the probate court’s finding that an estate didn’t have to file an inheritance tax return on checks issued to a deceased woman’s brother on an annuity contract.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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COA reverses father's visitation of adopted daughter

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although one Indiana Court of Appeals judge concurred that a biological father’s petition granting visitation with his daughter should be reversed, he urged legislators and the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider the issues raised in this case to “avoid equally unjust results in future cases.”
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Judges affirm judgment for real estate agent on negligence claim

February 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a real estate agent representing buyers did not breach the duty he had to the sellers when he communicated with them personally about accepting his clients’ offer.
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Florida judge rules health-care law unconstitutional

January 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge in Florida has found that Congress has exceeded its authority in passing sweeping health-care reform in 2010 by including the individual mandate that people must purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. Indiana had joined with 25 other states, two individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business to challenge the law.
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Appeals court warns parties against no-response strategy

January 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge didn’t err in holding a big tax resolution company in contempt for failing to appear by closing six of its state offices and then issuing a default judgment against the firm, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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COA: Man has exhausted compensation benefits

January 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana statute is ambiguous as to whether a person who has exhausted his actual worker’s compensation benefits prior to 500 weeks is eligible to receive benefits from the Second Injury Fund starting on the date of the exhaustion of the actual benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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Justices accept parental-rights termination case

January 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has taken a Marion County case involving the termination of a mother’s parental rights in which the Indiana Court of Appeals took issue with several details in the case.
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Federal judge rules against state on immigrant paternity case

January 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Sitting at the crossroads between immigration law, paternity establishment, and the controversy on how the United States handles illegal immigrants, a federal judge in Indianapolis has ordered state health officials to stop denying unmarried immigrant parents without a Social Security number the ability to file an affidavit establishing paternity.
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Majority upholds dismissal of unemployment benefits appeal

January 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a woman’s appeal after she was denied unemployment benefits should be reinstated. The woman claimed she missed the administrative law judge’s phone call because of confusion regarding different time zones.
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Law firm files class-action lawsuit for estate planning UPL

January 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Logansport law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against an Indianapolis company that the state’s highest court last year determined engaged in the Unauthorized Practice of Law, suing on behalf of thousands of residents for what attorneys estimate could be $10 million to $20 million in damages.
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Federal act preempts state law claims

January 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act preempts state law claims brought by a man’s first ex-wife seeking to keep her and her grandchildren as beneficiaries of the man’s life insurance policy.

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Court's community-service policy is unenforceable

January 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s order that an indigent small claims litigant perform community service in lieu of paying a filing fee, holding the informal local rule requiring community service is unenforceable.
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Judges order consideration of discovery demands

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a Northern Indiana District Court to reconsider a German company’s discovery demands made in relation to a lawsuit pending in Germany over the alleged theft of trade secrets.
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COA: Man needed to submit claim under Wage Claims Statute

January 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An employee’s status at the time he or she files the claim is the relevant inquiry in determining whether he or she proceeds under the Wage Payment Statute or the Wage Claims Statute, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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State urges SCOTUS to deny judicial canons case

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a brief with the nation’s highest court, urging the justices to not hear a case about whether Indiana’s judicial canons constitutionally infringe on the free speech rights of those on or vying for seats on the bench.
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Judges reverse dismissal of application to adjust claim

January 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by the full Worker’s Compensation Board that a medical services provider’s application for an adjustment of claim was barred by the two-year statute of limitations found in Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-3. The appellate court relied on a recent decision involving a similar scenario to make its ruling.
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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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