Court opinions

11th Circuit strikes portion of health-care reform law

August 15, 2011
IL Staff
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled on a challenge to the federal health-care law filed by numerous states, including Indiana, and found the federal mandate that individuals have to purchase health insurance or face a penalty to be unconstitutional.
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Man's convictions upheld despite court's use of inadmissible evidence

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial judge abused his discretion in admitting portions of a defendant’s out-of-court taped police statements, but the appellate panel determined that error was harmless and not reason to reverse the man’s multiple rape and sexual conduct convictions.
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COA: Names in workforce development cases aren't confidential

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
From now on, the Indiana Court of Appeals will publish full names of parties on workforce development review board cases after determining state statute doesn’t require those to be kept confidential in public court records.
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Judge: Students’ off-campus Internet photos protected by First Amendment

August 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ruled that a northern Indiana school district shouldn’t have disciplined two high school girls who posted racy online photos of themselves posing with phallic lollipops and simulating sexual acts because the pictures were outside of school and are protected by the First Amendment.
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Appeals court affirms sending employee appeal back to agency

August 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of a fired Department of Correction employee’s petition for judicial review, finding that it was clear on the record that an administrative agency’s action was without evidentiary foundation. The appellate court noted the difficulty the judge had in conducting the judicial review due to deficiencies in recording testimony.
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Justices reverse ruling against hospital on spoliation claim

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on workers’ compensation cases involving first- and third-party spoliation claims, the Indiana Supreme Court has declined to recognize similar claims regarding medical malpractice suits.
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Judges split over order property owner pay for construction of drainage-ditch arm

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided in its ruling on whether a man whose land sits higher and isn’t prone to flooding should have to pay for the reconstruction of an arm of a nearby drainage ditch. The dissenting judge wrote that Wednesday’s decision will promote “water wars” between neighbors.
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COA allows for admission of vehicle photo in personal injury action

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time the issue of whether a photograph admitted at trial showing little damage to a truck involved in an accident is inadmissible on the grounds that it’s irrelevant to any determination of bodily injury.
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Judges won’t revisit associational standing issue on same case

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Finding it had already ruled on an associational standing question six years ago in the same case, the Indiana Court of Appeals has denied an electric utility's attempt to re-litigate that issue based on the law-of-the-case doctrine.
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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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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