Court opinions

7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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Defendant entitled to cash bail refund under former statute

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to a refund of a $250 cash bond. The COA reversed a Monroe Circuit order denying a motion for release of cash bond dating to 2003.
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Appeals court affirms multiple sex-crimes, 100-year sentence

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Multiple convictions were upheld Monday against a man who had threatened, confined and sexually assaulted three Indianapolis women he picked up after offering them money for sex.
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COA vacates sex-abuse confinement conviction as double jeopardy

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday vacated a conviction of Class C felony criminal confinement for a man also convicted of Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, finding the lesser conviction resulted in double jeopardy.
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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7th Circuit bars Indianapolis’ hour limits on adult bookstores

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has tossed an Indianapolis ordinance limiting the business hours of adult bookstores from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
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Divided panel: OWI-causing-death retrial not double jeopardy

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel upheld a man’s conviction and 14-year sentence for driving while intoxicated causing death, but a dissenting judge said the unusual case history that led to the outcome constituted double jeopardy.
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Court affirms higher home assessment as compared to neighbors

January 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Thursday affirmed the 2007 assessment of a property in an upscale community on Lake Michigan, rejecting the homeowner’s argument that the assessment should be lower because surrounding homes were assessed at a lower ratio when taking into account the prices at which the homes were sold.
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Split opinion: Disclosure of insurance policy limit is reversible error

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Ruling on an issue of first impression, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a jury’s award of $250,000 to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. The majority remanded for a new trial, holding that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.
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Appeals panel upholds $3.9M verdict for bicyclist hit by school bus

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A student riding his bicycle to school on Washington Street in Indianapolis was hit by a school bus and critically injured, and a jury’s $3.9 million judgment in his favor was proper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges reverse possession of meth, paraphernalia convictions

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a consolidated appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Huntington County man’s convictions and sentences for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, ruling the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence purportedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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COA: Teen who shot cows did not mutilate or torture them

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday reversed a teenager’s adjudications for cruelty to an animal after finding the evidence was not sufficient to prove he mutilated or tortured either cow he shot.
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COA: Insurers have no duty to defend in environmental case

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by an Indiana court relying on Maryland law that granted summary judgment and defense costs to a business whose product led to perchlorate contamination in California and Indiana.
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Court upholds suppression of mentally ill man’s confession

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

Citing an inadequate Miranda warning and the mental illness a murder suspect has, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of the defendant’s motion to suppress confessions that he murdered two women. 

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Improper conduct by trial court does not require reversal of contempt order

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday found a trial judge committed some improper conduct during a hearing on a protective order, with one judge noting the court was “precariously close to crossing the line” when intervening in the proceedings. Despite this, the appellate court affirmed the order of contempt in favor of the petitioner.
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7th Circuit affirms above-guideline sentence for gun possession

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The District Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing a man who pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a felon to a sentence above guidelines, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man wins partial victory in appeal of insurance dispute

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit filed by man who was hit by a car while crossing the street will continue with respect to the driver of the car, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges affirmed summary judgment in favor of the driver’s insurer.
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Justices send Boonville annexation case back to trial court

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Multiple parcels of land acquired by the state for an adjoining public roadway should be counted as one parcel for purposes of remonstration, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Opinion affirms New Albany has zoning jurisdiction over fringe area of county

January 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between the city of New Albany and Floyd County concerning which entity has zoning jurisdiction over an unincorporated area outside city limits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the city.
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Company can’t prevail in appeal on claims of collusion

January 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the confirmation of a sale of an ethanol plant in South Bend to a joint venture, rejecting a nonbidder’s claim that the establishment of the joint venture amounted to collusion that spoiled the auction.
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Inaccurate drain location data causes city to lose negligence suit

January 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the city of Fort Wayne did not provide accurate locations of its drains to a utility company involved in constructing an underground monolith, its negligence suit against the utility company can’t survive summary judgment. An underground drain was damaged during the process, causing flooding in the area.
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7th Circuit: Ineffective assistance claim can’t challenge deportation

January 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
A legal permanent resident who argued pro se that ineffective assistance of legal counsel led to his deportation after he pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his claim that was dismissed by a federal court.
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College cook not erroneously denied unemployment benefits

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A cook at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to unemployment benefits for the summer of 2012.
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COA reverses treble damages in business deal gone bad

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in awarding treble damages to an Indiana man who entered into a business venture with a North Carolina couple that ended up costing him more than $1 million in money owed to him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday.
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