Court opinions

Property mortgagor, managers owed no duty in case of drowned girl

January 15, 2013
A trial court correctly dismissed a wrongful death case the mother of a 5-year-old girl filed against a mortgage company and other defendants after the child drowned in the pool of a house that had been abandoned.
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COA: Theft and auto theft adjudications didn’t violate single larceny rule

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A teen lost an appeal challenging his adjudication as a delinquent on charges that would be theft and auto theft if committed by an adult violated the single larceny rule.
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Detailed settlement agreement not specific enough for son to claim funds

January 15, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a settlement agreement worked out between siblings included details about who would receive the comic books, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled because the document did not specifically address the accounts receivable, one of the surviving sons would not be entitled to the money.
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Plank failed to preserve claim med mal cap is unconstitutional

January 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday that Timothy Plank, who filed a medical malpractice complaint following the death of his wife in 2001, forfeited his opportunity to conduct an evidentiary hearing challenging the constitutionality of the Medical Malpractice Act.
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Borrower entitled to retrial on judgment, COA rules

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Steuben Circuit Court committed reversible error when it failed to admit into evidence an exhibit purporting to show that a borrower had repaid a $650,000 promissory note, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Father owes support to children conceived via artificial insemination

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father who contested a trial court order that he must pay child support for two children failed to convince the Court of Appeals that he did not consent to their conception through artificial insemination.
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COA: ‘Appalling character’ of deadbeat dad merits 10-year sentence

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County father whose child support arrearage neared $57,000 lost his second appeal of a case that already has gone to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices find man not required to register for life as sex offender

January 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that based on the facts of a Lake County man’s case, a 2006 amendment requiring him to register for life as a sex offender violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution. The amendment took effect after Andre Gonzalez fully served his sentence and during the 10-year period of his required registration.
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Judge supports denying rehearing, but disagrees with colleagues’ rationale

January 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for rehearing and for a rehearing en banc after the court originally upheld the seizure of thousands of dollars following a traffic stop. But one judge did write to explain that she disagreed with her fellow panel members’ rationale for originally affirming the seizure.
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Evidence supports wife entitled to protective order against husband

January 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Tippecanoe County man appealing the issuance of a protective order against him lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The appellate court concluded that the evidence showed his wife is a victim of domestic violence.
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Settlement without insurer’s consent is at builder’s expense

January 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals praised a homebuilder for its quick response and remedy to a couple’s discovery that their brand new home was full of backed-up sewage. But because Arbor Homes didn’t get the consent of the insurer regarding a settlement, the insurer has no obligation to pay for the cleanup.
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Texas Roadhouse fire suit among 4 justices take

January 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A lawsuit over liability for a fire that destroyed an Indianapolis steakhouse because hydrants were frozen and unusable will proceed to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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SCOTUS to hear Indiana farmer’s case against Monsanto in February

January 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A patent infringement case involving a Knox County soybean farmer and an international seed producer will be argued Feb. 19 before the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Judges reinstate battery charges against drunken casino patron

January 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Switzerland Circuit Court had no grounds to dismiss the information against a man charged with misdemeanor battery after jabbing the shoulder of a pit boss at Belterra Casino.
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Judges ‘disturbed’ by linking of drugs to defendant’s nationality

January 3, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was “disturbed” by a government agent’s improperly admitted testimony linking a defendant’s Mexican nationality to the methamphetamine at issue, the court declined to grant a new trial.
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Judge: DOC treatment of mentally ill unconstitutional

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
A lack of basic treatment for mentally ill Indiana Department of Correction inmates held in isolation violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge ruled Monday.
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COA reverses conviction after BMV stumbles over address

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A driver whose conduct was “clearly blameworthy” had his conviction overturned after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the state’s evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver knew his license was suspended.
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In test of 2012 emancipation law, COA affirms denial of college expenses

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
A statutory change in the age of emancipation for child support, except for educational support, does not preclude courts from modifying educational support obligations when parents demonstrate changes in their financial circumstances, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Traffic stop based on companion’s statement did not violate constitutional protections

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Police had the “reasonable suspicion” required to stop a possible impaired driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled, even though the driver’s companion did not specifically tell the officers the driver was intoxicated.
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Previous back problems not enough to disqualify public employee from disability benefits

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an employee had a pre-existing condition, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled his on-duty injury qualified him for Class 1 impairment disability benefits from the Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund.
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Court cites fishy documents in reversing support order

December 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior judge had no jurisdiction to enter a judgment against a father stating he owed $27,522 in support to his children’s mother, because Canadian court documents and other filings should not have been considered, the Court of Appeals ruled.
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Vintage Corvette belongs to the last buyer

December 28, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette was the subject of litigation over ownership when it was purchased by a third party on eBay, the Indiana Court of Appeals has found the hotrod belongs to the eBay bidder.
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Duke loses appeal of scandal-touched IURC rate case reversal

December 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s reversal and subsequent rejection of deferred accounting of $11.9 million for Duke Energy was affirmed by the Court of Appeals Friday in a case revisited because of an ethics scandal involving state regulators.
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Public interest in reducing poverty is grounds for application of doctrine of laches

December 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
In overturning a lower court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals opened the door for the doctrine of laches to be applied to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles by finding the suspension of a Bloomington woman’s driving privileges conflicts with the public’s interest in reducing poverty.
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Man argues the sentencing guidelines were applied incorrectly

December 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A Wisconsin man who used a stolen Indiana driver’s license to obtain a passport had his sentence affirmed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals which held certain provisions in the sentencing guidelines should be applied differently depending on the circumstances.
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  1. 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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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