Civil Case

Appellate court divided over trust liability

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split Monday in a probate suit involving whether trustees failed to distribute a portion of the trust corpus in a timely manner. The majority upheld finding the trustees liable, but ordered a re-evaluation of compensatory damages and attorney fees.
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Judges halt enforcement of challenged laws

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions June 24 preventing parts of two new controversial laws regarding immigration and funding of Planned Parenthood of Indiana from being enforced.
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Women accused of operating 'puppy mill' file lawsuit

June 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The mother and daughter who were accused of running a “puppy mill” and had animals removed from their homes as a result of tax law violations are now suing the Indiana attorney general and others involved in the removal of the dogs.
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Group can't challenge high school closure

June 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a parent and taxpayer group’s legal challenge to the closing of a Fort Wayne school, finding the decision doesn’t violate the state constitution.
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High court questions whether transactions are leases or security interest sales

June 21, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Examining whether a transaction between two businesses is a lease or a sale subject to security interest, the Indiana Supreme Court has adopted an approach used in Colorado. The court held that various factors, such as the economy, must be considered in each situation to decide that question.
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Court won't recognize non-fiduciary liability

June 21, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana doesn’t allow people to sue when they’ve had corporate opportunities taken away by business partners who’ve gone off and formed new partnerships with others, and the state Court of Appeals declined to decide whether non-fiduciaries can be held liable for usurping corporate opportunity.
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Supreme Court aligns with trial court in dog-attack case

June 21, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed a trial court judge’s finding that the city of Evansville and its animal control division are not liable in a dog attack that seriously injured a boy.
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Federal judge decertifies class in hail-damage suit

June 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
On order from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, an Indiana judge has decertified the class in a lawsuit against State Farm following a 2006 hail storm in central Indiana.
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COA reverses worker's comp board on prescription drug denial

June 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a finding by the state Worker’s Compensation Board that a woman’s employer isn’t responsible for providing a specific prescription drug to her, noting that the board only focused on one possible reason why the drug is prescribed.
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COA reverses judgment for apartment manager in negligence case

June 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In ruling on a slip-and-fall case involving injury occurring in an apartment complex parking lot during the winter, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted that there are not any Indiana cases with an identical fact pattern, so they looked to a similar Missouri case for guidance.
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Judges rule on legal malpractice action

June 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a man has standing to pursue his legal malpractice action, although issues of material fact preclude him from summary judgment as to the attorney’s liability for malpractice.
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COA: Statute of repose doesn't bar woman's complaint

June 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a woman’s negligence complaint isn’t barred by a statute of repose.
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Closing Indiana's largest MDL line

June 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The final case in the Bridgestone/Firestone multi-district litigation has come to a close in the Southern District of Indiana, putting an end to a line of litigation that began more than a decade ago.
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Justices take state employee back-pay case

June 6, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the case in which past and present state workers were initially granted more than $42 million in damages in their suit to recover back pay. That amount was later reduced by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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High court to hear insurance, drug, murder cases

June 6, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted three cases June 3, including two cases in which the Indiana Court of Appeals were split in their rulings on a drug case and an insurance case.
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7th Circuit affirms dismissal of hostile work environment claim

June 3, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a woman failed to prove that she was subject to a hostile work environment at Ball State University.
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Justices accept church-property dispute

May 31, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to take a case between a Vanderburgh County church and its former national organization dealing with what happens to the local church property after the local church defected to another Presbyterian organization.
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Insurer not entitled to rescind home insurance policy

May 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The failure to disclose true value in a real estate insurance context doesn’t give rise to a rescission claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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Issue of fact precludes summary judgment in insurance case

May 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Neither side in a dispute over whether a deceased man’s auto insurer should provide coverage for losses from an accident that occurred while he was driving his girlfriend’s car is entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. A genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether the girlfriend’s car was furnished or available for the man’s regular use.
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COA rules in favor of mother in contentious custody battle

May 24, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s decision awarding a mother primary custody of her child, after a joint custody arrangement between the mother and father deteriorated.
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Mother's rights at issue in COA reversal

May 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a paternity ruling from Vanderburgh County, finding that the judge should have taken a second look at the case after a mother wasn’t given a chance to be properly heard on custody of her child.
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COA: Tractor sale contract not enforceable

May 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals says it’s against public policy to uphold any civil contract that’s based on an illegal action, and so the court says it won’t create a rule allowing that transaction agreement to be enforced.
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Justices decide golf ball injury case

May 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Taking a swing at an issue of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled on a golf ball injury case and rejected the concept that a sporting event participant owes no duty of care to protect others from inherent risks of the sport in all situations.
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Judges split on mortgage issue

May 17, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression between a lender and the mortgagee on record, the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided as to whether the mortgagee on record had an enforceable right under a mortgage.
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COA orders trial court to define, locate easement

May 16, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in denying a trust’s request for an easement of necessity relating to a certain parcel of land because the previous property owners didn’t grant themselves an easement before they transferred the land to the trust, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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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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