Court opinions

COA: Court properly denied motion to set aside default judgment

January 3, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
A company being sued for negligence failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the default judgment entered against it in the matter should be overturned.
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Assessor waived objection to untimely filing of record

January 3, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court on Friday determined that a northern Indiana assessor’s office waived its objection to a late-filed certified administrative record in a tax appeal, ruling that an objection must be made before the merits of a case have been furthered.
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Former IDEM employee’s unlawful termination case can continue

December 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
A former Indiana state employee can continue her case against the Indiana Department of Environmental Management after the Court of Appeals decided Thursday that her unlawful termination complaint stated a claim upon which relief can be granted and that sovereign immunity cannot apply.
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Granddaughter can continue to seek guardianship of grandfather

December 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals is allowing a granddaughter to continue seeking guardianship over her grandfather after determining that the trial court erroneously dismissed her guardianship petition.
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COA: Trial court’s erroneous statement did not change terms of plea agreement

December 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man convicted of drug-related charges must adhere to the waiver of his right  to appeal his sentence as part of his plea deal after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that the trial court’s erroneous statement did not change the terms of that agreement.
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Gun evidence admissibility divides Court of Appeals

December 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In a “he said, she said” case before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday, the judges were divided on whether admission of a gun into evidence prejudiced a woman’s convictions of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official and her boyfriend’s battery conviction.
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Appeals court finds judge complied with credit-restricted felon statute

December 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that an Elkhart Superior judge’s advisement to a convicted child molester that she is a credit-restricted felon substantially complied with statute.
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COA upholds dismissal of fired DOT employee’s untimely petition for review

December 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A former employee of the Indiana Department of Transportation, who was fired in 2013, untimely filed his petition for judicial review after he was unsuccessful in his administrative appeals and the trial court correctly dismissed his petition, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
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Reopening case after closing arguments was not an abuse of discretion

December 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed the state to reopen its case against a defendant after closing arguments because the defendant had been forewarned that certain evidence could be admitted if he presented a contrary intent defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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COA: Purchase agreement valid, case against company must go to arbitration

December 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
A Kentucky-based houseboat company cannot be forced to refund a deposit to a Henry County couple after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday that an existing purchase agreement was a valid and binding contract that allowed the company to request arbitration.
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2016 Year in Review

December 28, 2016
IL Staff
From law school troubles to new court initiatives, take a look back at the top stories in Indiana Lawyer this year.
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Lack of expert testimony leads to judgment in favor of Indiana attorney

December 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
The lack of expert testimony in a yearslong bankruptcy case led to the appropriate grant of summary judgment to an Indiana attorney, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Tuesday.
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COA holds that arbitration exclusion applies to State Farm case

December 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance Tuesday, writing that the appellants in the case could not compel arbitration due to an exception in the arbitration agreement it signed with the insurance company.
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Summary judgment in favor of New Castle prison employees reversed

December 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana inmate can continue his case against prison officials he said prohibited him from bringing his case before the U.S. Supreme Court after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Tuesday that summary judgment in favor of the officials was erroneous.
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COA: Stage collapses not foreseeable as a matter of law

December 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
The company hired to provide security to country duo Sugarland on the night of the deadly stage collapse at the 2011 Indiana State Fair could not have reasonably foreseen the stage collapse as a matter of law and, thus, is entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Delinquency adjudication upheld for student who planned a school shooting

December 22, 2016
Olivia Covington
A Jackson County teenager who plotted a school shooting with a classmate will retain his delinquency adjudication after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting Facebook conversations detailing the shooting plans.
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7th Circuit affirms health care fraud, firearms convictions

December 21, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s firearms and fraud convictions Wednesday, rejecting each of the former counselor’s arguments against his attorney and the district court judge.
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COA reverses termination of parental rights, finds DCS exhibited ‘troubling behavior’

December 21, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Wednesday a decision terminating a mother and father’s parental relationships with their son, writing that the Department of Child Services had exhibited an “extraordinarily troubling pattern of behavior.”
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Search of man’s mouth ruled unconstitutional

December 21, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned a man’s conviction, ruling the drugs found in his mouth should be excluded under the “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.”
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COA affirms ruling for lender in Shelbyville low-income housing dispute

December 21, 2016
Dave Stafford
A general partner developing Shelbyville low-income apartments lost its appeal of rulings that it misappropriated or was in breach of nearly $2.75 million guaranteed for the project and that it should be liable for the lenders’ legal fees of more than $385,000.
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Tax Court: Orbitz doesn’t have to pay additional sales, innkeeper’s taxes

December 20, 2016
Olivia Covington
A popular travel and booking website will not have to pay the state more than $200,000 in back taxes after the Indiana Tax Court held that the website is not considered a retail merchant.
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COA upholds battery conviction for altercation outside bar

December 20, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s battery conviction Tuesday after finding that he failed to prove any abuse of the Delaware Circuit Court’s discretion.
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Justices find Ohio, Indiana burglary statutes are ‘substantially similar’

December 16, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court Friday overturned a lower court’s decision to throw out a man’s serious violent felon charges, writing that statutes governing burglary convictions in Ohio and Indiana are “substantially” similar.
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Justices reaffirm decision after correcting factual error

December 16, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court has reaffirmed its decision to deny relief to a man convicted of child solicitation after granting a rehearing on that decision to correct a factual error.
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COA affirms ex-wife’s murder conviction, sentence

December 16, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of a woman who shot and killed her ex-husband in 2014, finding that her claims of self-defense against domestic abuse were unsubstantiated.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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