Court opinions

COA rejects Duke’s claims against proposed Franklin traffic expansion

December 16, 2016
Olivia Covington
Duke Energy of Indiana cannot prevent the city of Franklin from expanding an east-side intersection, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Friday, allowing the city to move forward with a project designed to beautify the State Road 44 corridor off of Interstate 65.
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COA: Case for relief against INDOT may continue

December 16, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals allowed a local government entity to continue seeking relief against the Indiana Department of Transportation Friday, holding that the local unit of government had standing to seek both injunctive and declaratory relief.
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Order for parents to pay grad school costs reversed

December 14, 2016
Dave Stafford
Parents who were ordered in a divorce decree to pay their child's costs of graduate school won’t have to after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the trial court abused its discretion in so ordering.
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Adams Co. judge not required to recuse himself from case involving former client

December 12, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Adams County judge who presided over a case in which the defendant was his former legal client was not required to recuse himself, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Monday.
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Child molester’s failure to register conviction vacated

December 12, 2016
Olivia Covington
A convicted child molester will not also have a conviction of failure to register as a sex offender after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Monday that his arrest was premature.
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COA reaffirms decision imposing sanctions on mental health service provider

December 9, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reaffirmed an earlier decision finding that sanctions against a mental health provider were warranted, making clear Friday that it fully understood why the sanctions were imposed.
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7th Circuit affirms dismissal of claims against Indiana, Marion County officials

December 9, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of claims against several Indiana state and county officials, finding that most of the claims failed due to the immunity provided to government employees in the scope of their employment.
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COA: Law enforcement may not refuse to hire based solely on expunged criminal histories

December 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that law enforcement agencies are not permitted under state statute to refuse to hire new employees solely because those people have prior criminal histories that have since been expunged.
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Court abused discretion in letting public defender withdraw appearance

December 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
An attorney seeking a motion to withdraw appearance had to prove there was justification for his withdrawal and provide sufficient notice to the party he represented before the motion could be granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday.
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COA holds public trust rights rule along lakeshore

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
When a private property owner’s land deed overlaps with that of the public trust along Lake Michigan, the rights to the shore are controlled by the common law public trust doctrine, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday in a landmark decision that prevents private property owners from exerting complete control over lakeshore land between ordinary high- and low-water marks.
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COA affirms lifetime suspension of driving rights

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man who was caught driving with a suspended license cannot challenge the legality of the lifetime suspension of his driving privileges because the law in effect at the time of his arrest required the lifetime suspension, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday.
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COA reverses handgun conviction after state failed to meet burden of proof

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
The state failed to meet its burden of proof to show that an Indianapolis man was carrying a handgun without a license outside of his dwelling, workplace or property, the Court of Appeals found Wednesday, thus vacating the man’s misdemeanor conviction.
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‘Strict compliance’ with contempt statute not required if sufficient notice is given

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
A majority of the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court found Tuesday that strict compliance with a state statute regarding contempt orders can be excused if the party in contempt has been sufficiently notified of their contempt, thus affirming a trial court decision requiring an ex-husband to produce income and tax documents for his ex-wife.
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Justices uphold Katrina fraud verdict against State Farm

December 6, 2016
 Associated Press
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a jury verdict that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. committed fraud against the federal government after 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
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7th Circuit rules Duke Energy must pay for wind-generated power

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision Tuesday requiring Duke Energy to pay for power generated by a local wind farm only if it passes to a lower grid, deciding instead that the energy company is contractually obligated to pay for any generated power regardless of transmission issues.
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Indiana attorney illegally practicing in Florida suspended for 18 months

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana attorney who was illegally practicing law in Florida has been suspended in Indiana for 18 months without automatic reinstatement.
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Divided COA says trial court must hold hearing on order to pay

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
A Floyd County trial court cannot order debtors to make monthly payments toward a mortgage, taxes and insurance premiums in a foreclosure case without first holding a hearing on the debtors’ ability to pay, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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7th Circuit rules student-athletes aren’t considered ‘employees’

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
Collegiate athletes cannot be considered university employees and, thus, are not eligible for minimum wage pay, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, affirming a district court decision that dismissed a lawsuit brought against the NCAA.
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COA reverses handgun conviction because officer didn’t follow protocol

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
A police officer did not follow the proper protocol for conducting an inventory search of a detainee’s car, thus making the search impermissible under state and federal constitutions and prohibiting the admittance of any evidence obtained through the search.
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7th Circuit affirms murder, racketeering convictions despite government error

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
Despite improper statements made by the government during closing arguments of a trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s murder and racketeering convictions, writing that the statements constituted harmless error.
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COA affirms dismissal of case due to res judicata

December 2, 2016
Olivia Covington
Res judicata prevents a title insurance company from taking a “second bite” at the apple, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, in a case in which the company appealed dismissal of its second attempt to challenge an action by the Indiana Department of Insurance.
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Lawyer’s use of word ‘Negro’ prejudiced client, but doesn't get PCR

December 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
A defense attorney who has since been disbarred prejudiced his absent client when he referred to him as a “Negro” before potential jurors, a judge wrote, but the offending word wasn’t enough for the Court of Appeals to grant post-conviction relief.
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Court affirms injunction preventing violations of non-compete clauses

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
After several employees from one civil engineering firm began soliciting employees from a competitor, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court correctly issued a preliminary injunction to force the employees to comply with non-compete and non-solicitation clauses they had signed.
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COA upholds summary judgment in workers’ comp case

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although he was hired to work on a specific project for a southern Indiana construction company, a worker who was injured on a construction job must seek damages through Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act because he was considered an “employee” of the company.
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COA: Indiana trial court has no personal jurisdiction over New York resident

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana trial court cannot assume personal jurisdiction over a woman who lives in New York and has no ties to the Hoosier state, despite the fact that she is being sued by Indiana litigants.
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  1. 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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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