Court opinions

Insurer not allowed to substitute party name

October 29, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An insurance company isn't allowed to substitute another party's name in a suit filed by a driver for her underinsured motorist benefits because there's no authority for substitution of a non-party before a jury in a contract case, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today. Doing so would create a "legal fiction" before the jury.
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No error in sanctions against state

October 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't clearly err when it dismissed drunk driving charges against a defendant as sanctions for the state's discovery violations, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA: Insurers have no duty to defend Cinergy

October 28, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

COA: Plaintiff class in FSSA suit too broad

October 27, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of certification of a proposed class suing the Family and Social Services Administration because plaintiffs believed the modernized public benefits program system has a disparate impact on people with disabilities. Even though the contract with the company providing the system was terminated earlier this month, the parties don't claim this action alters their appeal.
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Supreme Court upholds denial of continuance

October 27, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The majority of justices on the Indiana Supreme Court agreed that the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in denying a married couple's pro se motion to continue after their attorney withdrew six weeks before trial. The dissenting justice argued because of the complexities of the case, the trial court should have granted the couple's motion.
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'Prison mailbox rule' applies to direct appealsRestricted Content

October 23, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The "prison mailbox rule," which the Indiana Court of Appeals had previously determined applies in post-conviction proceedings, also is applicable in direct appeals, the appellate court decided today.
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COA reverses dismissal of drug charges

October 21, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it sua sponte decided to exclude evidence from a warrantless search of a defendant's car and dismiss the drug charges against him as a result of that search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA: Destroyed tape doesn't make record silent

October 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The premature destruction of a tape of a guilty plea hearing by court staff doesn't render the record silent for purposes of Boykin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Supreme Court considers MySpace statement

October 15, 2009
Rebecca Berfanger
he Indiana Supreme Court today issued an opinion that affirmed a Kosciusko Circuit jury's conviction of a man who murdered his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter and the resulting sentence of life in prison without parole. The opinion also considered the defendant's novel question: whether statements from his social networking Web site, which were presented to the jury as evidence of his character, were admissible in court.
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7th Circuit warns attorneys about complianceRestricted Content

October 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chastised the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indiana's Northern District to "get its act together" to comply strictly with a statute that imposes a mandatory life sentence for a defendant convicted of a drug offense with two prior drug convictions.
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Majority upholds false statement is protected

October 14, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

Attorney's fees can come from damages award

October 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Reasonable attorney's fees may be paid out of the damages award in a wrongful death action, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Court rules on workers' comp dispute

October 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a finding that a company had acted in bad faith in denying workers' compensation benefits because there was a dispute over who should pay the benefits.
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Dissent: new issues can be raised in response

October 9, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Parties shouldn't be allowed to raise arguments for the first time in response to a rehearing petition before an appellate court, an Indiana Court of Appeals judge wrote in disagreeing with two of her colleagues.
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Testimony based on medical journals allowed

October 8, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A physician testifying at a medical malpractice case should have been allowed to offer testimony based on her reading of medical journals, and a Marion County judge erred when he excluded part of her statements, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided.
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Judges disagree on when escape occurs

October 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether inmates in a jail could be charged with escape if they never left the outer walls of the facility. The majority affirmed the dismissal of the escape charges against the six inmates, ruling the act was just a violation of prison rules.
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First impression in utility fee case

October 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to determine whether the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission properly reviewed the rates and fees charged by a regional sewage district at the request of a campground owner.
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Indiana order doesn't modify Florida order

October 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed that a Vanderburgh Superior Court's order requiring a father to pay less than the full amount of a Florida support obligation, which allowed him to avoid incarceration, didn't impermissibly modify the foreign judgment.
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Restitution for lost wages an error

October 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in ordering a man to pay restitution of the lost wages of his victim because there's no direct link the man's criminal recklessness caused the victim to be fired, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA: Annexation should have been granted

October 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found that a Circuit Court incorrectly ruled that Muncie failed to meet its statutory burden when trying to annex portions of two residential neighborhoods. The appellate court reversed the finding Muncie's ordinances annexing the land were invalid and the finding the landowners met their statutory burden to oppose the annexation.
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Putative dad can file paternity petition for child

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that although a putative father's paternity petition should be dismissed, he could proceed as the next friend of the alleged daughter in her paternity petition.
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Testimony showed intent in identity deception

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
During a trial for identity deception, a court correctly admitted evidence under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) of the defendant's prior interaction with the victim of his identity theft and previous instances of using the victim's information, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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Trial court erred in terminating parenting time

October 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the termination of a father's parenting time with his teenage daughters, finding the trial court erred because the decision wasn't supported by the record or statute.
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Court: No rehearing based on another decision

October 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court granted a petition for rehearing to clarify its ruling that a Hamilton County property qualified for a charitable/religious exemption. The Tax Court also denied rehearing a St. Joseph County case that claimed the decision in that case should be reconsidered based on the original ruling in the Hamilton County case.
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COA splits on cheek-swab requirements

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires reasonable suspicion only, not probable cause, under federal and state constitutions.
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  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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