Court opinions

Lawyer’s use of word ‘Negro’ prejudiced client, but doesn't get PCR

December 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
A defense attorney who has since been disbarred prejudiced his absent client when he referred to him as a “Negro” before potential jurors, a judge wrote, but the offending word wasn’t enough for the Court of Appeals to grant post-conviction relief.
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Court affirms injunction preventing violations of non-compete clauses

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
After several employees from one civil engineering firm began soliciting employees from a competitor, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court correctly issued a preliminary injunction to force the employees to comply with non-compete and non-solicitation clauses they had signed.
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COA upholds summary judgment in workers’ comp case

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although he was hired to work on a specific project for a southern Indiana construction company, a worker who was injured on a construction job must seek damages through Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act because he was considered an “employee” of the company.
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COA: Indiana trial court has no personal jurisdiction over New York resident

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana trial court cannot assume personal jurisdiction over a woman who lives in New York and has no ties to the Hoosier state, despite the fact that she is being sued by Indiana litigants.
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Judges: Parents, courts need guidance on discipline

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s conviction for battery against his daughter on Wednesday but expressed concern over the lack of guidance courts are given when trying to determine when parental discipline goes too far.
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Justices: warrantless search OK because of ‘objectively reasonable’ concerns

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a man’s drug conviction Tuesday, reiterating that if an officer encounters an emergency situation, then he or she may investigate further without a warrant.
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Justices rule in favor of woman alleging 'warrantless intrusion' by officer

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although a police officer believed that a Hamilton County woman could have been injured after being stuck under her car, the facts surrounding the situation did not lend themselves to an emergency situation that could justify the “warrantless intrusion” of stopping the woman’s car after she drove away.
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7th Circuit dismisses appeal based on waiver

November 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a convicted murderer’s appeal arguing that the waiver of his right to appeal should be ignored because his sentence was outside statutory requirements, calling the man’s argument “undesirable” and “nonsensical.”
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Man must continue to pay child support for son he claimed was his, court holds

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A divided Court of Appeals panel has affirmed an order requiring a non-biological father to pay child support for his wife’s child, finding that because the man supported the child throughout his life, he is legally estopped from challenging the child support order.
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Errors lead to reversal of veteran’s involuntary commitment

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A trial court’s order mandating the involuntary commitment of a veteran has been vacated after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to follow proper legal protocol in serving documents and did not prove that the veteran posed a risk to himself or others.
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Lack of jurisdiction keeps cemetery case in court

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A woman’s fight to bury her mother in a burial site that she had purchased but that was mistakenly resold will continue after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that a small claims court did not have jurisdiction to grant her injunctive relief.
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‘Moorish national’ loses appeal of house-squatting conviction

November 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who identifies as a "Moorish National" sovereign citizen immune from state and federal law had no luck persuading the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn his convictions arising from his occupancy of an Indianapolis house that was being prepared for sale after foreclosure.
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COA: Officers don’t have to relay specifics of their ‘reasonable suspicions’

November 18, 2016
Olivia Covington
Deciding that police officers do not have to relay the specific details of their reasons for being suspicious of a person before an officer stops and detains that person, the Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a man’s argument that evidence of his possession of a handgun was improperly admitted.
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Judges decline to consider mother’s actions in med-mal case

November 18, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a doctor’s argument that a patient’s mother served as an intervening cause to the loss of the patient’s kidney and instead upheld the rule that a parent’s alleged contributory negligence may not be imputed to a child’s medical malpractice claim.
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Tow company that seized, sold cars loses injunction appeal

November 17, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis towing company whose owner worked with bankruptcy lawyers to take possession of cars when a buyer defaulted and then resell dozens of them lost its appeal of an injunction blocking the practice and ordering the cars be returned to the lienholder.
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Felony conviction affirmed based on ‘into’ definition

November 17, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A bullet that pierces a home’s siding is considered to be “into” the dwelling, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Thursday in upholding a South Bend man’s criminal recklessness conviction.
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COA: Incest age defense can’t win post-conviction relief

November 17, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of incest for a consensual sexual relationship with his biological aunt couldn’t persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to post-conviction relief. The man claimed ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to argue in his defense that the man’s aunt was older than 31.
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Justices dismiss ESPN suit, find Notre Dame police not public agency

November 16, 2016
Dave Stafford
Notre Dame Police are not a public agency, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, turning back a lawsuit from ESPN that sought records of the university police’s interactions with student athletes. The ruling means Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act does not apply to university police at private institutions.
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COA dismisses request to make trial court order final

November 15, 2016
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a mother’s request to characterize an order ending her parent-child relationship as a final order, writing that she still had to option of appealing the trial court’s decision through interlocutory appeal.
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COA upholds murder conviction after rejecting involuntary manslaughter appeal

November 15, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a man’s murder conviction after rejecting his claim that the jury should have been instructed on an involuntary manslaughter charge because he did not intend to kill his victim when he was beating her.
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COA says golf cart use is par for the course during the game

November 15, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man’s negligence claim against a golf teammate who struck the back of his golf cart cannot succeed because driving a golf cart is normal behavior for participants in the sport.
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Greenfield police officer loses suit over discipline for profane texts

November 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
A Greenfield police officer has lost his federal lawsuit filed against the city after he was suspended for allegedly sending profane text messages that insulted and threatened his superior officers.
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ISP officer loses whistleblower appeal

November 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
State workers alleging retaliation for whistleblower activities must first exhaust all administrative remedies before suing, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday, affirming a trial court ruling against a 27-year Indiana State Police officer.
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7th Circuit affirms jury verdict in injured railroad worker's suit

October 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
A jury correctly ruled against an employee of the railroad company CSX Transportation Inc. who sued his employer after an on-the-job accident that resulted in severe back pain, citing evidence that proved the pain existed before the accident, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided Thursday.
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COA affirms woman’s involuntary commitment despite moot appeal

October 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although the term of her commitment in an Indiana mental health facility had already expired, the Indiana Court of Appeals chose Thursday to hear a woman’s moot appeal of her commitment and affirm it, writing that the case needed to be heard as a matter of great public importance.
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