Court opinions

DCS admits petition flawed; COA orders more proceedings

August 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Gibson Circuit Court committed fundamental error in terminating the parental rights of a mother and father over their young child, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday. The Department of Child Services admitted that it failed to comply with statute when filing the petition to terminate their parental rights.
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Case arising out of molestation not reported by DCS divides court

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit brought by parents against the Department of Child Services and Evansville Police Department for not informing them of their daughter’s molestation led each judge on the Court of Appeals panel to write his or her own opinion. The only thing the judges agreed on is that the police department is not a proper party to the case.
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Dismissed dental student loses suit against IU

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana University School of Dentistry student kicked out of the program because of failing grades and allegations of professional misconduct lost her lawsuit because of failure to state a claim.
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Trial court erred in land survey dispute

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Starke Circuit Court correctly rejected a legal survey performed on land owned by a trust, the special judge did err by imposing two prior surveys to establish boundary lines of the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Mining company an insured under contractor’s policy

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The mining company that hired a truck company as a contractor is considered an insured under the truck company’s insurance policy with regards to an injured trucking employee, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Mom’s conviction due to child’s school absences upheld

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that an Indianapolis mother was not unlawfully denied a right to a jury trial on her Class B misdemeanor failure to ensure school attendance charge.
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Judges order new trial due to counsel’s deficient performance

August 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion County man was prejudiced by his counsel’s error of not timely filing a request for a jury trial, so the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial on his Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction.
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Denial of summary judgment upheld over questions of car ownership

August 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The insurer of a car dealership is not entitled to summary judgment because there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the dealership or the son of an employee who purchased a car from the dealership owned the car at the time the son hit a bicyclist.
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7th Circuit orders disability case back to administrative law judge

August 28, 2012
Because the Social Security Administration Appeals Council did not consider new evidence when it was presented – despite its own regulations requiring it to do so – the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a disability insurance benefits case back to the administrative law judge for further proceedings.
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7th Circuit to DOC: Sex offender registry error safeguards insufficient

August 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s Sex and Violent Offender Registry provides insufficient means for those whose information is incorrect to challenge the information, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Court of Appeals finds 2006 statute does apply to 2001 violation

August 28, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s ex post facto argument and affirmed a trial court’s decision to convict him of committing a sex offender residency offense.
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COA affirms its reversal of trial court in land-use case

August 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
Property owners on a northwestern Indiana lake who argued their land was unconstitutionally taken lost their rehearing before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Student’s delinquency adjudication involving in-school incident reversed

August 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Ben Davis High School student won an appeal of his adjudication as a delinquent Tuesday after the Court of Appeals held the circumstances for which he was adjudicated did not meet the equivalent of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.
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Court of Appeals finds insurer’s intent is not clear in policy language

August 28, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding language in an insurance policy to be ambiguous, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court’s entry of summary judgment for an insurance company.
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Inmate loses challenge to law ending certain educational funding

August 28, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 2011 amendment that stopped state funding of postsecondary education programs in correctional facilities for convicted felons who are confined in a penal facility is not an ex post facto law nor does it violate an inmate’s constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man’s convictions affirmed, but court orders record set straight

August 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man lost his criminal appeal Tuesday, but the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the trial court to correct an abstract of judgment that incorrectly recorded a felony conviction.
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Appeals court affirms order for expert witness to indemnify past employer

August 28, 2012
Dave Stafford
An expert for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case who was ordered to execute a release indemnifying a former employer must do so, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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COA finds petitioner failed to show trial counsel was ineffective

August 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
In affirming a post-conviction court’s judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals found a convicted child molester failed to carry his burden in claiming that his attorney was ineffective.
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Court affirms judgment with minor recalculation in decade-long dispute

August 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed most of the $627,570 judgment in favor of a Fort Wayne restaurant operator sued by former mortgagors in a rehearing of litigation dating back more than a decade, but it ordered recalculation of a judgment based on the restaurant’s earnings.
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Judges order new robbery trial

August 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Because a trial judge did not re-read all of the jury instructions when giving jurors an additional instruction after deliberations began, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial on the felony robbery charge.
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Man unable to prevent settlement agreement

August 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The man who wanted to purchase a divorcing couple’s farm lacked a present interest in the real estate and couldn’t prevent a settlement agreement between the couple, which led to the husband keeping the farm, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Judges disagree over use of summary judgment to pierce corporate veil

August 23, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
One Court of Appeals judge believed the “only reasonable inference” that could be drawn from the evidence in a collections case is that a former company was a “sham corporation,” so the trial court properly pierced the corporate veil on summary judgment.
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7th Circuit rules trial attorneys not ineffective

August 23, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to find a defendant's trial attorneys' representation objectively deficient or ineffective pertaining to how they handled a man’s sentencing hearing.
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Bunch freed after 16 years in prison

August 23, 2012
IL Staff
Kristine Bunch, the woman who claimed she was wrongfully convicted of killing her son in a fire in 1995, was released from prison following a bond hearing Wednesday in Decatur County. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed her convictions and ordered a new trial on the murder charge.
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Alternate juror’s comment doesn’t entitle man to new trial

August 22, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court properly determined an alternate juror’s alleged conduct posed only a remote risk of prejudice, and the judge’s admonishment of that juror was not an error, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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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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