Court opinions

COA: Suit against sewer district isn’t a public lawsuit

August 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Spencer Circuit Court erred in finding a lawsuit filed by property owners challenging the requirement they connect to a new sewer system is a public lawsuit and the property owners must pay $9 million in bond to proceed with the suit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Court rules on duty of care for healthy trees in residential areas

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reiterated its stance that urban or residential area landowners have a duty to take reasonable precautions regarding their own trees, healthy or otherwise, and make sure they don’t harm a neighbor’s property based on the size and where they are planted.
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Circuit judges order court to take another look at Batson challenge

August 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the record before them, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges were unable to make an informed decision about the District Court’s decision to deny a defendant’s Batson challenge, so the judges sent the case back to the lower court.
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7th Circuit upholds mail fraud convictions

August 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although it found the evidence presented in a mail fraud case “thin,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals viewed it as enough to send the case involving three Calumet Township Trustee’s Office employees to the jury.
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Lawyer can argue for cost-of-living adjustment for increased fees

August 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that an attorney that successfully represented a client in a Social Security disability benefits suit should be allowed to make a request for a cost-of-living adjustment that would exceed the maximum $125 per hour that can be awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
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Judges reverse ruling mechanic's lien has priority over mortgages

August 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled there was no reason for a trial judge to disregard the state’s priority statutes regarding liens and mortgages and find that a construction company’s mechanic’s lien has priority over previously recorded mortgages.
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COA applies sports injury conduct rule

August 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Less than three months after the Indiana Supreme Court issued a decision about sports injury cases, the state’s intermediate appellate court is now applying the new rule regarding how liability should be determined.
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AG: DCS out-of-state placements shouldn’t be reviewable by courts

August 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana Supreme Court decision upholding three statutes relating to juvenile judges’ authority on out-of-state placement cases created what the state attorney general’s office calls too much confusion, and the justices should revisit the ruling it made a little more than a month ago.
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Judges order hearing on unemployment benefits

August 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A man, whose request for a continuance in a hearing regarding his unemployment benefits was denied by an administrative law judge, is entitled to a hearing on the matter, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA divided on whether 'bully' comments require new trial

August 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split in affirming a man’s drunk-driving conviction, with the dissenting judge finding the prosecutor’s questions to the jury and repeated reference to the defendant as a bully at trial made a fair trial impossible.
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Looking back on rulings

August 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Looking in the rearview mirror on judicial precedent is a task that every judge on every court faces.
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Lawmakers may consider sentencing options for children waived to adult court

August 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Within a six-month period, one Indiana county prosecutor faced two situations where he had to make one of the toughest types of decisions – whether a child should be tried in juvenile or adult court based on the brutality of a crime and age of the offender.
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Workers' comp cases question line between employer liability and employee responsibility

August 3, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
In June, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed the finding of a workers’ compensation judge who ruled that a man whose wife died of a pulmonary embolism while working from home was entitled to workers’ compensation survivor benefits. In Renner v. AT&T, No. A-2393-10T3, a doctor admitted that other factors – including obesity – may have been risk factors for developing the fatal blood clot.
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COA cites 'good faith' exception for child pornography search warrant

August 2, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence, holding that even though a search warrant was invalid, the evidence it produced is admissible due to a “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule.
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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
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Man entitled to damages following excavation of home without notice

July 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In reviewing a case in which an attorney appointed guardian of an adult male unilaterally decided to tear down his home without providing notice to the man, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the attorney violated the man’s due process rights and damages were necessary.
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Court reverses suspension of mother's parenting time

July 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the modification of a mother’s parenting time to end any visitation with her autistic son because the father didn’t present evidence justifying terminating the parenting time.
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'Notario' pleads guilty to tax evasion, illegal law practice

July 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has sentenced an Indianapolis woman who offered illegal immigration services without a law license and evaded paying her income taxes through that business.
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COA rules on man's theft conviction for third time

July 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Following an order from the Indiana Supreme Court that the lower appellate court more fully address the Proportionality Clause of the Indiana Constitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals has again upheld a man’s felony theft conviction.
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Hospital doesn't owe attorney any contingency fees

July 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Kokomo attorney is not entitled to collect his contingency fees from a hospital in his representation of a patient caught in an insurance dispute, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held.
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No summary judgment on issue of whether complaint was timely filed

July 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a doctor in a medical malpractice action, finding there are questions around whether the plaintiff timely filed the proposed complaint.
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Judges ask family to end litigation over parents' interments

July 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute among divided siblings on where their deceased parents should be buried, the Indiana Court of Appeals asked the family to end the litigation and let the parents “rest in peace.”
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COA split on whether scooter is 'motor vehicle'

July 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided in a case involving a man who was convicted of driving a motor vehicle while his privileges were suspended, with one judge agreeing with the state that the defendant’s scooter qualified as a motor vehicle under statute.
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Circuit Court affirms admission of drugs, sentence

July 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his past conviction of vehicular flight isn’t a crime of violence, citing a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court on that matter.
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Judge approves proposed settlement agreement

July 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has approved a proposed settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration alleging that an agency policy that doesn’t allow certain Medicaid waiver enrollees to apply for services other than what’s been approved by their case manager is in violation of federal Medicaid law.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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