Court opinions

Denial of witness testimony was harmless error, COA rules

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court abused its discretion when it did not allow a person to testify on behalf of the defendant based on a separation of witnesses violation, the error was harmless, ruled the Court of Appeals in affirming a man’s felony convictions of vicarious sexual gratification and possession of child pornography.
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COA clarifies decision in reversed CHINS case

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the Department of Child Services’ request for rehearing of an August 2014 decision in which the court reversed a child in need of services finding for a child whose father was in the Navy for the first few years of the child’s life. The judges clarified their reasoning but affirmed their decision in all respects.
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Justices: Previous ruling did not alter fundamental error doctrine

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court wants to clear up potential confusion involving the state’s fundamental error doctrine.
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Couple needed expert testimony to show proximate cause in defective air bag suit

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A couple suing Ford Motor Company, alleging their 2003 Mercury Mountaineer was defective because the air bags did not deploy in an accident, lost their case because they failed to designate expert testimony to support their claim.
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Panel issues 3 opinions on interplay between T.R. 15(C) and 17(F)

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
While the three judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals panel agreed summary judgment was proper for an Indianapolis attorney being sued for defamation and other claims because the statute of limitations had expired, each judge interpreted the interplay between Trial Rules 15(C) and 17(F) differently.
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Man fails to prove Supreme Court would rule against established caselaw

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of an insurance adjuster’s motion to dismiss it from an injured man’s lawsuit alleging negligence in how it handled his case. The judges pointed out that the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that an insurance adjuster owes no legal duty to the insured and the plaintiff didn’t show that the Indiana Supreme Court would disagree with that decision.
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COA: Postnuptial agreement is enforceable

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
It is not a requirement that one party in a marriage must initiate divorce proceedings in order for the parties to later enter into a valid and enforceable reconciliation agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Awarded guardianship fees overturned due to potential misconduct

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because a trial court did not look at whether fees requested by a man’s former guardians were necessary, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the order they receive more than $15,000 from his estate.
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Justices add malpractice, adoption cases to docket

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will review summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers sued for medical malpractice in a stillbirth case as well as an adoption by a grandmother who claimed a 1997 conviction for neglect of a dependant should not automatically bar her from adopting the children.
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Appeals panel reinstates med-mal case

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a hospital and a doctor who performed a hysterectomy during which an arm board became unattached. After the patient’s arm dangled for much of the surgery, she was diagnosed with nerve damage in her arm.
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COA: Ex-husband entitled to legal fees for former wife's contempt

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The ex-husband in an acrimonious domestic relations case is entitled to $9,000 in legal fees a trial court awarded to him as well as judgments in his favor on parenting time and child support, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Double jeopardy lifts 2 of burglar’s multiple convictions

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who repeatedly broke into property and stole tools and items being used to renovate a long-vacant farmhouse likely will remain sentenced to 50 years in prison, even though the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated two of his convictions as violations of the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Ex-Martin County judge pleads guilty to failing to pay income tax

February 6, 2015
IL Staff
One-time Martin Circuit judge and county prosecutor Robert J. Howell pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he failed to pay more than $66,000 in taxes on receipts from his law firm in Loogootee.
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Appeals court strips grandmother’s visitation, cites grandchild’s adoption

February 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel Friday stripped a maternal grandparent of visitation rights, finding she had no standing to seek visitation. The parents of the child had divorced, and the father remarried shortly after the mother’s death.
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COA reverses confinement conviction, cautions prosecution on future statements

February 5, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Lake County man’s Class B felony criminal confinement conviction because the trial court erred in admitting out-of-court statements by an alleged accomplice.
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7th Circuit affirms carjacking enhancement stemming from bank robbery

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals quickly dismissed a defendant’s argument that his sentence for bank robbery should not include a two-level sentence enhancement for carjacking because the keys to the car were obtained by rummaging through the victim’s purse and not through force or intimidation.
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7th Circuit stresses holding Pavey hearing separate from summary judgment hearing

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the Indiana Department of Correction and its commissioner on a disabled inmate’s claims of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The judges also suggested that courts do not hold a Pavey hearing at the same time as a hearing on a motion for summary judgment.
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Defendant must try to prevent crime discovery for statute of limitations to toll

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In dealing with an issue of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court found a robbery charge should be dismissed because it was filed outside of the statute of limitations. The state argued the defendant had concealed evidence of the crime, thus tolling the five-year statute of limitations.
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Majority finds no error regarding potential electronic monitoring

February 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that a trial court had improperly delegated to a community corrections program the authority to decide whether he should be subject to electronic monitoring.
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Court rules in favor of hospital in contract dispute

February 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake County medical center prevailed in an appeal filed by the other party in a contract to provide anesthesiology services for patients. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the hospital on several breach of contract claims.
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Man’s conviction for murdering neighbor upheld

February 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Citing a wide array of circumstantial evidence to support a Cass County man’s murder conviction in connection with his neighbor’s death, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction.
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Man’s criminal confinement conviction reversed, battery conviction reinstated

February 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a Class B felony criminal confinement conviction reversed based on insufficient evidence, but judges ordered a battery conviction previously dismissed over double jeopardy concerns reinstated.
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COA affirms father must pay $876 in child support to non-custodial parent

February 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
There was no error by a trial court when it ordered a father to pay his ex-wife, who is the non-custodial parent of their two children, nearly $900 a week in child support, the Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday. The order and figure are supported by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.
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COA reverses summary judgment in personal injury claim, abandons volunteer doctrine

February 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A negligence case involving a Terre Haute HVAC business and a man injured while helping move a furnace will move forward now that the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed summary judgment in favor of the company.
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COA reverses conviction based on unreasonable police search

February 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer had no reasonable suspicion to believe that a container found in a man’s pocket during an arrest held any illegal substances, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. As such, it reversed his Class D felony possession of schedule III controlled substance conviction, ruling it violated the Indiana Constitution.
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