Court opinions

Despite erroneous findings, termination of parental rights affirmed

September 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court entered erroneous findings in terminating the parental rights of a mother and father concerning two minor children, but the mistakes weren’t significant enough to reverse in a case where the state presented enough evidence to warrant the decision.
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Meth dealing conviction affirmed, restitution required

September 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
Convictions for dealing methamphetamine and two counts of neglect of a dependent were affirmed on appeal Tuesday, as was an order that the offender pay restitution to the state for the costs of cleaning up the meth lab.
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Child support and tax deduction rulings reversed

September 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Lake County father prevailed in appealing a trial court order regarding his child support obligations that deviated from those recommended under Indiana’s official guidelines.
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On rehearing, panel clarifies ruling regarding Death Property Act

September 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
A promissory note between a mother and son did not transfer to the mother’s estate on her death, the Indiana Court of Appeals clarified in rehearing an estate dispute that reversed a trial court ruling.
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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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