Court opinions

Issues of material fact allow Environmental Legal Actions claim to proceed

September 19, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals is allowing a claim under Indiana’s Environmental Legal Actions statute to move forward, ruling there are many questions for the lower court to examine about the former landlord’s role in the contamination of the soil.
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Judgment favoring policeman’s meth-exposure claim reversed

September 19, 2014
Dave Stafford
A police officer who claimed disability resulting from his work dismantling methamphetamine labs had a favorable trial court ruling reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday.
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Ex-Conseco board member owes legal fees, may pursue malpractice claim

September 19, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pre-bankruptcy board member of Conseco Inc. was ordered to pay $127,592.21 in outstanding legal fees, but he may pursue legal malpractice claims, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
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Judges disagree over enhanced sentence for child molesting conviction

September 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Thursday over whether a Johnson County man convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl deserved to have his sentence enhanced above the 30-year advisory sentence.
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Judge rules for revenue department on man’s claim for sanctions

September 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who argued that the Indiana Department of State Revenue should be sanctioned for allegedly producing his ex-wife’s transmittal envelope for her tax return and passing it off as his own lost his case before the Indiana Tax Court Thursday.
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COA: Attorney’s calendar mistake doesn’t support relief from judgment

September 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed with a woman’s argument that because she was twice granted extension of time to respond to a summary judgment motion involving her credit card debt, the trial court’s discretion to consider a belated response was preserved.
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Justices reverse grant of post-conviction relief

September 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a defendant’s claim that his attorneys were ineffective for not arguing that, based on a Supreme Court case, his conviction for Class B felony criminal confinement should be reversed or reduced. But the man inappropriately relies on the case, and what he claims his attorneys should have argued is not the law.
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COA denies State Farm’s request for new trial on $14.5M defamation verdict

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The $14.5 million defamation verdict awarded against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. in favor of a contractor who accused the insurer of defaming him remains in place after the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the company’s claim that fraud requires a new trial.
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State’s inaction does not allow man to appeal sentence

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that he should be given an opportunity to appeal his sentence, an option he waived by entering into a plea agreement, even though the trial court erroneously indicated he had a right to appeal and the state did not object to that advisement.
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Court must give man time to object to ex-wife’s motion

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior Court erred when it granted a woman’s motion to vacate a hearing on contempt charges against her without giving her ex-husband 15 days to file a response, as permitted under local rules, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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7th Circuit stays same-sex marriage decisions

September 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the motion for a stay of mandate filed by the defendants in Indiana’s same-sex marriage lawsuits.
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Felony murder convictions upheld in Elkhart home invasion, but sentences amended

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The appeals of three teens involved in a daytime home invasion that turned fatal gave the Court of Appeals a chance to examine the felony murder statute and its application for juveniles.
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COA affirms stripping ‘helicopter mom’ of custody of teen son

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The decision to modify custody to give a father sole legal and physical custody of his 15-year-old son was not clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In affirming the decision, the judges noted that the mother is overbearing and has forced the teen to participate in activities he has little interest in.
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Father granted custody after mother seeks relocation

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Moving from Floyd County to Scott County so a woman could be closer to her work and live with her boyfriend is not in the best interests of her two young children, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The judges affirmed the grant of father’s request to modify custody and child support.
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Omitted information in notice does not bar entry of summary judgment

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Failure in a notice of dissolution to describe information that must be included in a claim filed against the company does not make the notice invalid, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. Since the notice was valid, a convenience store owner’s lawsuit is time-barred. 
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Energy company waited too long to intervene in sale of oil and gas lease

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against an appeal in a protracted case involving the sale of oil and gas leases in efforts to recoup money for victims defrauded by First Choice Management Services. The judges held the company seeking to intervene failed to do so in a timely manner.
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Judges affirm convictions in fatal home invasion

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The state presented sufficient evidence to support a man’s conviction of robbery, which was based on a theory of accomplice liability, the Court of Appeals ruled. The charge stems from a home invasion in St. Joseph County during a family gathering.
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Court declines to review drug sentence based on new criminal code

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to dealing in oxycodone couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his sentence should be reconsidered based on the revised criminal code that took effect July 1.
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Court must hold hearing on injunction involving medical practice

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s assessment of the public interest regarding whether a doctor is prohibited under a noncompete agreement to practice within 25 miles of his former office in Rensselaer was contrary to law, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The judges reversed the denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing the doctor from opening a new practice next door to his previous one.
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COA orders judgment in favor of Lapel in annexation lawsuit

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The city of Anderson does not meet the requirements to bring a declaratory judgment action to challenge the town of Lapel’s annexation of land in Madison County that Anderson once considered annexing.
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Supreme Court provides clarity to maintenance agreement modification

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
If divorcing parties want to make judicial modification available for the maintenance agreements, they must say so in their contract, the Indiana Supreme Court pointed out Tuesday. Because a divorced couple’s maintenance agreement allowed for court intervention, the justices ordered the trial court to consider the wife’s request for modification.
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Defendant cleared 'low bar' to require reversal of summary judgment

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed summary judgment in favor of the state on its motion for forfeiture of cash found on a man accused of dealing cocaine. The justices found the man’s “self-serving” affidavit specifically controverted the state’s prima facie case that the cash was connected to drug crimes.
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Tax Court denies rehearing in charitable purposes exemption case

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Tax Judge Martha Wentworth affirmed that a housing company in Bartholomew County failed to show that its rental properties qualified for a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year. The judge denied granting Housing Partnerships Inc.’s request for a rehearing.
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7th Circuit: Marriage law is unconstitutional

September 10, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana’s assertion that preventing same-sex marriage encourages responsible procreation among heterosexuals was unequivocally rejected Sept. 4 in a blistering opinion from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the state’s argument could not be taken seriously.
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Appeals court reverses suppression of polygraph in molestation case

September 9, 2014
Dave Stafford
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday reversed a trial court order suppressing results of a polygraph test against a man who later was charged with child molestation.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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