Court opinions

Service-animal suit against Evansville schools proceeds

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act after Evansville schools adopted a policy restricting the use of service animals will proceed.
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Aye Chihuahua! Dog’s domain remains Indiana, appeals court rules

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Sofie, the black-and-white Chihuahua-rat terrier mix, stays in Indiana, the Court of Appeals affirmed in a canine custody challenge.
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Rehearing on double-jeopardy appeal leads to same conclusion

November 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel was unmoved by a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, and the appellate panel reaffirmed that a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor should not be dismissed against a defendant acquitted of rape based on the same incident.
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Former university soccer coach’s lawsuit after charges dropped fails

November 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court Monday that a lawsuit brought by a former soccer coach at Oakland City University against an arresting officer should be dismissed for being time-barred. Christian Serino alleged his constitutional rights were violated and multiple state-law torts were committed after trespass and resisting law enforcement charges against him were dropped.
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Retailer properly terminated lease, COA rules in reversal

November 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A retail chain that closed an underperforming store in a Hendricks County shopping center had a contractual right to do so under its lease, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in reversing a judgment in favor of the plaza owner.
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SCOTUS to hear Indiana steelworkers’ case Monday

November 1, 2013
Dave Stafford
This question arising in an Indiana labor case will be before the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday: What does “changing clothes” mean?
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Tax Court lets owners’ appeal go forward in alleged ‘puppy mill’ case

November 1, 2013
Dave Stafford
The former owners of an alleged puppy mill in Harrison County may pursue their claim that because the state overreached in using jeopardy tax warrants to seize their animals and property, they are entitled to a refund of the value of the taken property.
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State can’t keep interest earned on unclaimed property

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Thursday with an Indiana woman acting as guardian for a relative that the state can’t retain the interest earned on unclaimed property once the owner files a valid claim to the property. Katherine Cerajeski argued that action by the state is a taking that violates the takings clause in the Constitution because the owner is paid nothing for his lost interest.
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7th Circuit splits over Marion County Small Claims debt collection suit

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Are Marion County Township courts “judicial districts” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, thus allowing a man to sue a debt collector for bringing an action in an inconvenient township court? Depends on who you ask on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, as the majority ruled in favor of the debt collector Thursday.
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Appeals panel rules former same-sex partner has standing to seek visitation

October 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A former same-sex domestic partner of a woman who gave birth to a child has standing to seek visitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, reversing a trial court in an opinion begging lawmakers to speak to the rights of same-sex couples in parenting disputes.
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Justices clarify sentencing order on remand

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted a man’s petition for rehearing regarding his sentencing order, but again rejected his claim that concurrent sentences are required.
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Man arrested for public intox at gas station has conviction reversed

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the language of the recently amended statute defining public intoxication, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s conviction due to lack of evidence that he endangered his life or the life of someone else.
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COA decides not to take video recording issue on interlocutory appeal

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday decided that it was improper for it to accept a man’s appeal of his motion seeking to exclude video recordings of video files found on his phone. The judges accordingly dismissed David Wise’s appeal.
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Woman’s convictions did not subject her to double jeopardy

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who attempted to shoplift from an Indianapolis K-Mart was not subject to double jeopardy when she was convicted of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct. She argued the court could have based the convictions on identical facts.
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School corporation sued by attacked students wins on appeal

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A student who filed a lawsuit against his school corporation after he was assaulted by a fellow student while a teacher was in the hallway lost his negligence case on appeal Thursday. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the school.
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COA reverses drug conviction due to lack of intent

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state did not have sufficient evidence to convict a man of possession of cocaine under the intent prong of constructive possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As a result, the judges reversed the defendant’s drug conviction.
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Judges find no prosecutorial misconduct at molestation trial

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s multiple convictions for molesting three children, rejecting the defendant’s claims that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct when it commented during closing arguments on the truthfulness of his testimony.
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Car ad not deceptive, but salesperson’s statements keep fraud claim alive

October 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Car dealers, like many businesses, often “puff up” their advertisements to make their cars more attractive to potential buyers, and this puffery can’t be the basis of deception or fraud claims, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. But a woman’s fraud claim against an Indianapolis car dealer will continue.
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Insurance companies fail to show they were harmed by untimely notice

October 29, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a District Court judge from Evansville should not have excused two insurance companies from covering a $13.5 million award solely because the companies were notified of the award after the trial.
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Brother must prove why depositions should remain confidential

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Porter County court erred in merging the issue of confidentiality for purposes of discovery with the issue of restricting public access to materials filed in court, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. It ordered a hearing at which a man involved in a lawsuit with his brother must prove why portions of his deposition should be restricted from public access under Administrative Rule 9.
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Parental rights terminations upheld in substitute magistrate cases

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a pair of cases before the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday, parents argued that their due process rights were violated when a different magistrate reported findings and conclusions to the judge than the magistrate who heard the cases. The magistrate initially on the cases resigned before making reports to the juvenile court.
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Judges uphold penalties against man for falsifying unemployment benefit documents

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There is sufficient evidence to support the decision that a man must pay back unemployment benefits he used while working and that the man falsified information in order to receive those benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Man’s defense of necessity argument fails on appeal

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a reasonable jury could find that a man’s actions in trying to prevent his girlfriend from using cocaine were disproportionate to the harm avoided if she had used the drug, thus putting an end to his defense of necessity claim. The judges upheld Gerald Clemons’ possession of cocaine conviction.
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COA: Petitioning court for placement not the same as applying directly

October 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals clarified for a defendant its previous conclusion that he never applied for acceptance into a county post-conviction forensic diversion program and affirmed that his petition for judicial review was not proper.
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COA upholds denial of convicted murderer’s motion to dismiss

October 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that murder charges should have been dismissed based on a plea agreement he made with the state, finding no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to decide whether the defendant’s testimony was credible. The plea agreement preventing prosecution for murder would be in effect only if the defendant met certain criteria.
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