Court opinions

Justices rule Ed Martin Toyota can relocate to Hamilton County

June 2, 2016
Scott Roberts
Three central Indiana Toyota dealers lost their battle to stop a fourth from moving into their vicinity as the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday they did not have standing to stop the move from happening.
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7th Circuit: Drivers not entitled to ‘special services’ profit

June 2, 2016
Scott Roberts
Truck drivers are not entitled to profits from any “special services” a company they drive for provides, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday, because the language supporting such a claim isn’t in the contract.
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Justices: Divorced parents don't have to pay graduate school costs for their children

June 1, 2016
Scott Roberts
In a unanimous decision, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled divorced parents cannot be obligated to pay the graduate or professional school expenses of their adult children in a case where a mother and father were forced to share a child’s dental school expenses after she completed her undergraduate degree.
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COA: Mother justified in deciding not to work as doctor

May 31, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In a child support case in which a man challenged the decision by his son’s mother to quit her job as a doctor to stay at home with her children, the Indiana Court of Appeals found she had just cause to do so based on the sons’ special needs.
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Suspended attorney’s UPL convictions upheld

May 31, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a suspended Elkhart attorney’s convictions of practicing law by a non-attorney after ruling there is sufficient evidence he continued to provide legal work after he was disciplined by the Indiana Supreme Court two years ago.
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Division of judgment in failed care facility financing affirmed

May 31, 2016
Dave Stafford
A former Indiana lawmaker and his business partners must pay a pro rata share of a deficiency judgment over defaulted financing for a rehabilitation care facility in Liberty, Indiana, the Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday.
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Although unlicensed in county, contractor still owed for work

May 31, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a contractor violated the Home Improvement Contracts Act when he misled a family into thinking he was locally licensed and voided the contract between the two. However, the court said he should still be paid for the work he did because the family would be unjustly enriched if he was not paid.
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Contract’s ambiguities win homeowners a reversal

May 31, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Owners of a shabbily built house will get another chance to hold their architects accountable for the construction headaches after the Indiana Court of Appeals found there are questions of material fact that should be considered.
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COA affirms child care worker’s convictions of sex with minors

May 31, 2016
Dave Stafford
A Putnam County man convicted of multiple counts of sex with minors under his care failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that evidence against him was improperly admitted in his bench trial.
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Stepfather who proved paternity can’t deprive ex of joint custody

May 31, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who fathered a child while the mother was married to another man lost his appeal Tuesday that sought relief from a court order concerning the child's custody.
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7th Circuit: Probationary phone records are admissible evidence

May 31, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled evidence of a deceased man’s phone numbers provided to his probation officer is not inadmissible hearsay and those records should be included in another man’s criminal case.
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COA: Court cannot order juvenile to pay restitution as a civil judgment

May 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a trial court may not order a juvenile to pay restitution as a civil judgment after a minor was ordered to pay restitution in two cases where he violated his probation.
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COA: Man did not have expectation of privacy after he was tracked by GPS

May 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
Tracking of man by GPS did not violate his Fourth Amendment or Indiana constitutional rights, the Court of Appeals ruled, because he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The appellate court upheld Joseph Sidener's Class C felony burglary conviction and the finding he is an habitual offender.
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COA rules DCS has duty to protect caller’s identity

May 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision the Indiana Department of Child Services had a duty to protect a man’s identity after he called the DCS hotline and reported his neighbors’ children as children in need of services.
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7th Circuit upholds lifetime supervised release

May 25, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a federal judge’s findings and explanations were sufficient to support lifetime supervised release for 66-year-old man in poor health.
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COA: Gun evidence lawfully obtained

May 25, 2016
Scott Roberts
In its third Fourth Amendment case in two weeks, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled evidence obtained during a stop of a man who was loitering around an apartment complex and then left suspiciously was lawfully seized. The judges affirmed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress on interlocutory appeal.
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Divided COA rules karate kick is an issue of material fact

May 24, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a man’s kick in karate class, which injured a woman, constituted an issue of material fact and reversed summary judgment in his favor.
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Property manager not liable in drunken driving crash, COA holds

May 24, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the property management company of a Camby bar has no duty of care to a woman who was seriously injured in a car accident in which she and the driver were intoxicated.
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COA deals blow to AG’s foreclosure lawyer consumer suit

May 23, 2016
Dave Stafford
An effectively disbarred Florida attorney whose company hired Indiana lawyers to represent people in foreclosures must face a consumer lawsuit brought by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, but her company is largely exempted, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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'Abusive litigant' loses appeal for damages

May 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals denied a prolific litigant's attempt to get more than $30,000 in damages after he claimed a printer he purchased online for less than $75 did not work and then sued for thousands of dollars in damages.
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Ex-credit union chief loses defamation per se appeal

May 18, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for an employer after the president of a company was fired over an executive's hotline call. The president claimed defamation per se and considered the hotline company liable, but the COA ruled comments made during the call were not defamatory.
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COA: Lack of release advisement was harmless error

May 13, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a trial court’s failure to advise a man of his possible release dates was harmless error and affirmed his sentence for two felonies.
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7th Circuit: Officer not entitled to qualified immunity

May 12, 2016
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a police officer who released a dog during an arrest to find a suspect is not entitled to qualified immunity.
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Judges say order for DCS interviews with children should not have happened

May 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Department of Child Services for Crawford County should not have been granted the opportunity to interview two children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the order doing so violates their mother’s right to raise her family without undue interference by the state.
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Recorded conversation, conviction are admissible evidence, COA holds

May 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
An audiotape of phone conversations between a suspect and the victim’s mother while he was in jail and a testimony from the victim’s mother that she was convicted of assisting a criminal were admissible evidence in a child abuse case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. 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

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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