Court opinions

COA upholds dismissal of proposed class

December 8, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Potential plaintiffs who want to join a class action suit seeking redress under the state's Wage Claims Statute must first submit a claim to the Indiana Department of Labor, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld today.
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COA adopts 'site-specific' approach

December 3, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
For the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals adopted a site-specific approach to rule on an insurance case with multiple policies in several states. The appellate court had been following a uniform-contract-interpretation approach when ruling on choice of law questions in contract actions.
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Justices rule on constructive discharge issue

December 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court decided Tuesday that a claim for constructive retaliatory discharge falls within the state's public policy exemption to the employment-at-will doctrine.
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Visitation-adoption agreement not allowed

December 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
State law doesn't allow for post-adoption visitation that's contingent upon a voluntary termination of parental rights, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.
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Justices draw bright line on children's fault

December 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana law recognizes a rebuttable presumption that children ages 7 to 14 aren't capable of contributory negligence, the state's Supreme Court has confirmed.
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High court splits in hospital negligence suit

December 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court split on whether a hospital was negligent in letting a woman with injuries possibly caused by domestic violence leave with her alleged abuser, who killed her on the way home after being discharged.
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Court splits on first impression dissipation case

November 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented today from his colleagues' decision that a spouse may be found to have dissipated property after refusing to sign and file joint tax returns because the judge believes the ruling is "bad law and bad policy."
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COA reverses termination over rule violation

November 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today in its decision to reverse the termination of a mother's parental rights. The majority found the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the mother's trial counsel to withdraw her appearance under a local court rule.
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COA: Government vehicle exclusion is void

November 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today in a matter of first impression that the government vehicle exclusion in underinsured motorist policies is void as against public policy.
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Prosecutor misconduct leads to reversal

November 23, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's conviction of intimidation because several acts of misconduct constituted fundamental error. The appellate court also ruled the man could be retried on the charge.
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Worker didn't prove discrimination, retaliationRestricted Content

November 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling that a company's elimination of a worker's position, along with not rehiring her after restructuring, didn't constitute retaliation or a hostile work environment.
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7th Circuit offers alternatives to destroying gunsRestricted Content

November 19, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a District judge's order that a defendant's guns be destroyed instead of returned to him, ruling that there were other alternatives than what the District Court considered.
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Reimbursement to estate should be proportional

November 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that a proportional allocation of proceeds from a pre-trial settlement would be best way to reimburse an estate for funeral and burial expenses.
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Judges disagree as how to review sentence

November 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges affirmed today that a defendant's sentence following a guilty plea wasn't inappropriate, but the judges didn't agree as to how to reach that conclusion.
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COA splits, reverses probation revocation

November 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split today in its decision to reverse the revocation of a defendant's probation. The judges didn't agree that the probation revocation hearing comported with due process.
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COA: Insurance funds aren't a money judgment

November 16, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today that a summary judgment granting insurance policies isn't equivalent to a money judgment that would allow for 8 percent post-judgment interest.
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7th Circuit rules en banc on mezuzah caseRestricted Content

November 13, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that condominium owners prevented from hanging religious objects on their home can in some cases sue their association under the Fair Housing Act for alleged religious and racial discrimination, after they've bought the residence and moved in.
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Good-faith exception not applicable

November 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana trial court erred when it denied a defendant's motion to suppress evidence because the good-faith exception doesn't apply in this case, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA: Obama, McCain eligible to be president

November 12, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
More than a year after the 2008 presidential election, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama were eligible to run for the office.
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Officer didn't conduct investigatory stop

November 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't abuse its discretion in admitting evidence that a juvenile possessed marijuana because the seizure of the drug didn't violate the teen's constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Court clarifies responses under T.R. 56(I)

November 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals used a decision today to clarify that when a nonmoving party has received an enlargement of time pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 56(I), any response must be made within the additional time period granted by the trial court.
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Officer safety justified opening ajar car door

November 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The opening of an ajar car door by a police officer during a foot chase with a suspected robber didn't violate the man's federal or state constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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Trial court didn't err in denying mistrial

November 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't abuse its discretion in denying a mistrial after learning a juror asked the state's firearms expert a question outside the courtroom during a recess in the trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA: Man didn't personally waive right to jury

November 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court erred in finding a defendant waived his right to have a jury hear the enhancement aspects of his drunk-driving case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his elevated conviction.
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Agency erred in taxing certain money

November 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of State Revenue erred when it concluded certain money collected from customers of a small, rural telecommunications company were subject to Indiana's utility receipts tax, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Thursday.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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