Court opinions

COA: Judge could raise affirmative defense on behalf of pro se defendant

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A small-claims court may decide a case based upon the statute of limitations even if a defendant didn’t raise or mention it at trial but the issue was discussed during trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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Justices rule against POA on joint-account funds issue

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled against a woman who was made power of attorney by the man she worked for as a caretaker and opened bank accounts in both their names. The presumption is that the woman’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money from those accounts.
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COA dismisses appeal as untimely under T.R. 53.3(A)

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a man’s appeal from the denial of his motion to correct error because he didn’t file his notice within 30 days of when the motion was deemed denied, which happened before the trial court actually ruled on the motion.
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Judges split on district's need to pay for new water main

September 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a school district was required to pay for the installation of a new water main as opposed to privately putting in its own water service line to connect to a new school.
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Defendants in will contest must timely answer

September 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a will contest is a civil action and a defendant in this type of action is required to file an answer or plead to a complaint as provided by the state’s trial rules.
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Judge orders law firms to repay city $453,282

September 2, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A Merrillville attorney and three law firms must repay East Chicago a total $453,282 in legal fees they collected for defending former city officials in the Sidewalk Six scandal.
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Appeals court looks at revised law on sex-offense status

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case today with instructions to re-examine a case about a man’s disputed classification as a sexually violent predator.
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Landlord not responsible for dog bite

September 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment today for a landlord who was sued by a postal carrier who was bit by a tenant’s dog that had escaped from the property. The judges declined to find that by entering into a lease, a landlord establishes a relationship to a tenant’s dog.
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7th Circuit upholds Indiana's judicial canons

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At a time when the legal community is caught up in controversies about how judges are selected and whether they can remain impartial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on that national debate and ruled that states have the authority to self-regulate on those issues as it relates to judicial canons.
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Appellate courts address estate tax, trust division regarding adoptions

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
As adoptions have become more common and more accepted for expanding the family tree, courts have had to address some legal matters clarifying those familial ties.
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7th Circuit rules on attorney fee issues in brownfield case

August 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has mostly upheld an Indiana federal judge who’d ruled on the litigation costs and attorney fees involved in a Shell gas station brownfield case.
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Circuit Court split on rehearing judicial canons case

August 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Indiana’s two federal appeals judges disagree about whether the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals should reconsider a Wisconsin case about the judicial code of conduct in that state, paving the way for a further battle before the nation’s highest court that could influence Indiana’s judicial canons.
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COA: variance for residential wind turbine allowed

August 31, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
The Court of Appeals today affirmed a decision from the Warrick Superior Court that found the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Area Plan Commission of Warrick County was right in allowing a 20-foot variance for the construction of a residential wind turbine.
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High court remands Medicaid case to lower court

August 31, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ordered a Marion Superior Court to let Medicaid recipients involved in a decades-long lawsuit present evidence to demonstrate the transportation they may be entitled to by law and if they have been or will be denied services because of lower pay rates to Medicaid transportation providers.
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Judges rule man's right to speedy trial was violated

August 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The state had an affirmative duty to pursue prosecution of a defendant under his right to a speedy trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The appellate court also disapproved of the state’s blanket policy to not attempt to secure the attendance of an accused incarcerated person in a foreign jurisdiction until he has finished serving his sentence there.
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Child must show she is born out of wedlock to inherit

August 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Indiana Code Section 29-1-2-7 requires a child to show she is born out of wedlock for inheritance purposes.
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7th Circuit reverses lower court on stun-belt issue

August 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District judge’s decision that a man convicted of murder received ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial because his attorney didn’t object to the state making him wear a stun belt in court.
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7th Circuit affirms sentences for bank robbing couple

August 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions and sentences of a boyfriend and girlfriend on bank robbery convictions, finding the boyfriend waived his appeal of his sentence and the jury instructions were correct in the girlfriend’s trial.
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Look-alike offense counts as controlled-substance offense in sentencing

August 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A previous conviction for a “look-alike” offense constitutes a controlled-substance offense for sentencing purposes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the first time Tuesday.
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Court rules on first impression FLSA issue

August 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In denying summary judgment for either party in a dispute involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. District judge noted the issue appears to be one of first impression in the 7th Circuit.
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COA upholds denial of motion to suppress

August 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that the state’s courts should recognize a privacy interest in the subscriber information of an Internet service provider.
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Court OKs class certification in Conseco securities-fraud case

August 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In a securities-fraud case involving the Carmel-based financial and life insurance services company Conseco, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel has refused to significantly alter the class certification rules and throw out the long-established fraud-on-the-market doctrine.
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COA addresses inverse condemnation issues

August 20, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
Inverse condemnation was the issue of the day for two Indiana Court of Appeals panels, with one case raising issues regarding fraudulent concealment and the statute of limitations.
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COA: attorney's statement binding

August 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed partial summary judgment for Noble Roman’s Inc. in-store franchisees’ claim for constructive fraud because the franchisees’ then-attorney admitted that they were only pleading actual fraud against the company and that admission is binding.
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Federal identity theft statute includes use of deceased's identity

August 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A person can be convicted of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. Section 1028A for using the identity of a person who is dead or alive, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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