Court opinions

Vested employer-provided health-insurance premiums are an asset

September 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held that employer-provided health-insurance benefits constitute an asset once they have vested in a party to the marriage, and addressed for the first time the possible methods of valuing these benefits in marriage dissolution. This conclusion led one justice to dissent because it disrupts existing dissolution property division law.
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Supreme Court affirms sexually violent predator status

September 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s challenge to the finding that he is a sexually violent predator failed because the invited error doctrine precludes consideration of his claims on appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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Justices remand to see if defendant had accurate interpreting

September 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the post-conviction court to hold a new hearing for a Mexican man who claimed he didn’t mean to plead guilty to two felonies and did so only because of faulty interpreting in court.
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Majority orders new requirement for pro se defendants with little guidance

September 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Three Indiana Supreme Court justices created a new requirement as an exercise of supervisory powers when it comes to informing future defendants about the dangers of proceeding pro se, leaving two justices to dissent because the new requirement provides no guidance as to what trial courts must do or say.
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Court: team-building activity not under insured conditions

September 28, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed summary judgment in favor of an insurance company, noting a soccer team’s accident while traveling to an activity outside of the trip’s purpose was not covered.
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Court reaffirms 3-step test for in camera review

September 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals doesn’t believe that its previous ruling regarding the in camera review of an organization’s documents relating to alleged molestation victims sends the message that it’s “open season” on the records of victim services providers.
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Mental-health facility report not same as charging instrument

September 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The due process protections applicable to a charging instrument in a criminal case aren’t applicable to a report filed after someone is detained in a mental-health facility, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Religious defense doesn't discharge court's subject matter jurisdiction

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A court with authority to hear defamation and invasion of privacy claims is not ousted of subject matter jurisdiction just because a defendant pleads a religious defense, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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COA: Hearsay evidence properly admitted

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the admission of hearsay evidence of a woman’s testimony to an officer that her boyfriend hit her because the evidence was admissible under the excited utterance exception.
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Lawyers can't appeal termination without parent's authorization

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Tuesday that although parents have a statutory right to appellate counsel to appeal an order ending their parental rights, a parent’s trial lawyer cannot pursue an appeal without the parent’s authorization.
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High court clarifies harmless error under Sixth Amendment

September 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to a man’s case in order to address the application of harmless error to Sixth Amendment violations involving confronting those who create laboratory reports.
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Appellate court finds lawsuit brought in bad faith

September 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today for a fifth time on a contentious family dispute over the estate of deceased parents, affirming a small claims court judgment in favor of two of the siblings for damages and fees against their brother and his wife.
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Justices remind parties about decision certification

September 16, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted a rehearing on the appeal involving East Chicago casino money, using the chance to warn parties to not jump the gun in how it responds once an appellate ruling is initially issued.
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Justices: BMV can require names to match SSA records

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct to find that the public interest in preventing fraudulent use of driver’s licenses trumps some people’s desire to have their commonly used names on their licenses, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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Attenuation doctrine doesn't apply under Indiana Constitution

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The attenuation doctrine has no application under the state’s constitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a case alleging an unconstitutional search.
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No qualified immunity for city in racially motivated promotions

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the motion of qualified immunity filed by the City of Indianapolis and several officials in a suit filed by three white police officers who claim they were passed over for promotions because of their race.
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COA: Judge could raise affirmative defense on behalf of pro se defendant

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A small-claims court may decide a case based upon the statute of limitations even if a defendant didn’t raise or mention it at trial but the issue was discussed during trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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Justices rule against POA on joint-account funds issue

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled against a woman who was made power of attorney by the man she worked for as a caretaker and opened bank accounts in both their names. The presumption is that the woman’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money from those accounts.
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COA dismisses appeal as untimely under T.R. 53.3(A)

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a man’s appeal from the denial of his motion to correct error because he didn’t file his notice within 30 days of when the motion was deemed denied, which happened before the trial court actually ruled on the motion.
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Judges split on district's need to pay for new water main

September 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a school district was required to pay for the installation of a new water main as opposed to privately putting in its own water service line to connect to a new school.
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Defendants in will contest must timely answer

September 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a will contest is a civil action and a defendant in this type of action is required to file an answer or plead to a complaint as provided by the state’s trial rules.
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Judge orders law firms to repay city $453,282

September 2, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A Merrillville attorney and three law firms must repay East Chicago a total $453,282 in legal fees they collected for defending former city officials in the Sidewalk Six scandal.
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Appeals court looks at revised law on sex-offense status

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case today with instructions to re-examine a case about a man’s disputed classification as a sexually violent predator.
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Landlord not responsible for dog bite

September 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment today for a landlord who was sued by a postal carrier who was bit by a tenant’s dog that had escaped from the property. The judges declined to find that by entering into a lease, a landlord establishes a relationship to a tenant’s dog.
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7th Circuit upholds Indiana's judicial canons

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At a time when the legal community is caught up in controversies about how judges are selected and whether they can remain impartial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on that national debate and ruled that states have the authority to self-regulate on those issues as it relates to judicial canons.
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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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