Court opinions

Supreme Court reverses CHINS determination

February 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed a children in need of services determination Tuesday after agreeing to hear the parents’ case on the merits, despite their premature notices of appeal.
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COA affirms summary judgment against Celadon in class action

February 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment against a prominent trucking company in a class-action lawsuit, holding that the terms of the company’s contract with its independent drivers require the company to deduct the cost of fuel from their compensation based only on the lowest discounted price.
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COA: Declaratory judgment, tort actions can arise from same occurrence

February 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A declaratory judgment action can arise from the same occurrence as an underlying tort action for purposes of permissive joinder under Trial Rule 20, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The judges affirmed the denial of a request to sever two tort counts from a count seeking declaratory judgment.
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Reversal: ‘Odor of raw marijuana’ sufficient grounds for search

February 6, 2017
Dave Stafford
A police officer who said he detected “a strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from a car during a traffic stop had probable cause to search the driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in reversing a trial court.
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COA: Malpractice claim barred by statute of limitations

February 6, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a woman’s malpractice claim after holding that the claim was barred by a two-year statute of limitations.
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Cop denied murder rehearing to appeal to US Supreme Court

February 6, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed itself and vacated its order to rehear a case of an Indiana police officer convicted of murder and arson. Glenn Patrick Bradford's attorney said he will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the appeal.
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7th Circuit dismisses Moorish tax claim, condemns ‘sovereign citizen’ ideology

February 3, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man who declared himself a “sovereign citizen” as a result of his “Moorish” heritage is in fact not a sovereign citizen who is exempt from taxes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a Friday opinion that delved into the history of the Moorish-American movement that has been the source of “difficult litigation."
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COA: Convicted sex offender can’t seek expungement for unrelated charges

February 3, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man convicted of Class D felonies is not eligible for expungement of those offenses because he has also been convicted of sex crimes, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Friday.
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COA: Bank had no duty to woman injured by drunken driver

February 2, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indiana bank does not owe a duty of care to a woman who was injured by a drunken driver after the bank’s employees helped the driver change his tire without knowing that he had been drinking, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday.
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7th Circuit upholds judgment in favor of nonprofit’s board of directors

February 2, 2017
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld summary judgment in favor of a sister on the board of directors of a family foundation after finding that her brother lacked standing to bring either individual or derivative claims on behalf of the corporation.
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7th Circuit allows evidentiary hearing on ineffective assistance of counsel claim

February 2, 2017
Olivia Covington
A doctrine allowing prisoners to bring ineffective assistance of counsel claims after a procedural default at the state level applies in Indiana and, thus, entitles a convicted murderer to an evidentiary hearing on his ineffective counsel claim, a divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided Wednesday.
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COA affirms default judgment against Menards in injury lawsuit

February 1, 2017
Olivia Covington
A summons and complaint in a personal injury claim were adequately served on a Menards store in Gary, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday, so the store cannot seek relief from default judgment entered against it on the basis of the service of process.
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Supreme Court upholds man's life sentence

January 25, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
An Elkhart County man who smoked synthetic marijuana then stabbed his girlfriend to death was unable to convince the Indiana Supreme Court that his sentence of life without parole was unconstitutional.
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Justices revise sentence of man with mental illness

January 25, 2017
Olivia Covington
The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court have revised the sentence of a Daviess County man with a history of mental illness who was convicted of burglary, drawing on the dissent of Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Paul Mathias, who advocated for treatment for offenders who are mentally ill.
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7th Circuit vacates denial of prisoner’s request for help finding counsel

January 25, 2017
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a district court order denying a request to help an inmate living in another state recruit counsel for an Indiana case, noting that without counsel or a medical expert, the inmate will be unable to build a strong legal case.
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COA: Restitution must be based on value of damaged car, not upgraded vehicle

January 25, 2017
Olivia Covington
Trial courts must award restitution based on the cost of an item that was stolen or damaged, not the cost of upgrading to a new item, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday, so the Marion Superior Court erred when it ordered restitution based on the cost a woman incurred in purchasing a newer vehicle after a wreck.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of evidentiary hearing, post-conviction review

January 25, 2017
Olivia Covington
The appointed public defender for a man convicted and sentenced for distributing cocaine tried to advise his client to accept a plea agreement, so that client cannot appeal on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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District court declines to stop Supreme Court disciplinary hearing

January 24, 2017
Olivia Covington
A federal judge has declined to intervene in an Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding against a northern Indiana attorney who claims he is being discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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COA: Company cannot withhold ‘voluntary’ deductions from ex-employee's pay

January 23, 2017
Olivia Covington
A plumbing and electrical company cannot impose “voluntary” tax deductions on a former employee’s final paycheck without statutory authority, nor can it force that employee to pay a $1,000 insurance deductible after an auto accident, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Sexual assault nurse’s testimony qualifies under medical hearsay exceptions

January 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Huntington County man who molested his young relative cannot challenge the admission of the testimony of the nurse who examined the victim because the testimony qualified under the medical treatment exception to hearsay rules, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided.
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IMPD officer was qualified as an expert in stalking case

January 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant was qualified as an expert to testify about Facebook records and digital trails that led to a man’s multiple convictions for felony stalking, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Friday.
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COA overturns judgment in favor of credit card debt collector

January 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed judgment in favor of a credit card debt collector after determining that the collector failed to establish that it owned the account it was trying to collect on.
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Statute of limitations bars medical negligence case

January 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
After a dermatology appointment left a Marion County woman with facial discoloration that never went away as her doctor said it would, the woman sought damages in a negligence complaint. However, because she failed to prove that she “later learned” that her injury was worse than she thought, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the woman’s claim cannot proceed in court because it was not timely filed.
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COA: Only property owned prior to final separation can be included in marital pot

January 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
Only property that is owned or acquired before the date a dissolution petition is filed in a divorce proceeding can be included in the marital pot, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday in an opinion that overturned a lower court’s decision to include stock options vested after the date of a couple’s final separation in the marital pot.
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COA: Exigent circumstances justified warrantless search

January 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indiana State Police detective did not violate a man’s constitutional rights when he searched a bag in the man’s vehicle without a warrant because there were exigent circumstances that made the warrantless search reasonable, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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