Court opinions

Tax Court rules in brewery's favor

August 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on an issue that previously has come before the Indiana Tax Court, Senior Judge Thomas Fisher has upheld that sales to Indiana customers who hired common carriers to pick up alcohol at an Ohio facility shouldn’t have been included in the sales factor of Miller Brewing Co.’s adjusted gross income tax and supplemental net income tax.
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Judges uphold theft charge against man

August 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to dismiss his theft charge in Jay County because he caused the delay in the case by absconding. The case brought up the issue of whether knowledge by jail officials on the whereabouts of the defendant can mean that the judge and prosecutor were sufficiently notified.
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COA reverses trial court on Kroger building proposal

August 18, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that the Town of Plainfield Plan Commission must provide The Kroger Co. with specific reasons its building plan was denied or allow Kroger to build a gas station as planned.
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Judges reverse teen’s adjudication for school absences, tardies

August 17, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The state didn’t show that a teenager was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, so his adjudication as a delinquent child for missing school should be reversed, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Federal appeals court examines disputed telephone charges

August 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Writing for a unanimous 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel, U.S. Judge David Hamilton authored an opinion Tuesday full of what he calls “telephonese.” The opinion delves into a small business’s disputed phone bill charges and how those matters are governed by state and common law.
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COA rules paying penalty doesn't nullify appeal

August 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled on an issue that has not directly been addressed by statute or caselaw, holding that paying a civil penalty to stop a tax sale of property doesn’t cancel out an appeal questioning that assessment’s validity.
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COA sides with Live Nation in naming dispute

August 16, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the Murat Temple Association’s claim that Live Nation Worldwide violated terms of its lease agreement.
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7th Circuit upholds denial of class action, statutory damages

August 16, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In an appeal of the denial of a proposed class-action lawsuit based on the finding the attorney was inadequate to represent the class, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the attorney’s demeanor on appeal didn’t help his cause.
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Court could find juvenile must register as sex offender

August 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Montgomery Circuit Court had subject matter jurisdiction to order a juvenile to register as a sex offender for 10 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Judge reduces death sentences to life without parole

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
If he’d had the ability more than three years ago to factor in a jury’s deadlocked view on the death penalty, a southern Indiana judge says he would have imposed life without parole rather than the death penalty for a man convicted of triple murder.
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11th Circuit strikes portion of health-care reform law

August 15, 2011
IL Staff
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled on a challenge to the federal health-care law filed by numerous states, including Indiana, and found the federal mandate that individuals have to purchase health insurance or face a penalty to be unconstitutional.
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Man's convictions upheld despite court's use of inadmissible evidence

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial judge abused his discretion in admitting portions of a defendant’s out-of-court taped police statements, but the appellate panel determined that error was harmless and not reason to reverse the man’s multiple rape and sexual conduct convictions.
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COA: Names in workforce development cases aren't confidential

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
From now on, the Indiana Court of Appeals will publish full names of parties on workforce development review board cases after determining state statute doesn’t require those to be kept confidential in public court records.
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Judge: Students’ off-campus Internet photos protected by First Amendment

August 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ruled that a northern Indiana school district shouldn’t have disciplined two high school girls who posted racy online photos of themselves posing with phallic lollipops and simulating sexual acts because the pictures were outside of school and are protected by the First Amendment.
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Appeals court affirms sending employee appeal back to agency

August 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of a fired Department of Correction employee’s petition for judicial review, finding that it was clear on the record that an administrative agency’s action was without evidentiary foundation. The appellate court noted the difficulty the judge had in conducting the judicial review due to deficiencies in recording testimony.
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Justices reverse ruling against hospital on spoliation claim

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on workers’ compensation cases involving first- and third-party spoliation claims, the Indiana Supreme Court has declined to recognize similar claims regarding medical malpractice suits.
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Judges split over order property owner pay for construction of drainage-ditch arm

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided in its ruling on whether a man whose land sits higher and isn’t prone to flooding should have to pay for the reconstruction of an arm of a nearby drainage ditch. The dissenting judge wrote that Wednesday’s decision will promote “water wars” between neighbors.
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COA allows for admission of vehicle photo in personal injury action

August 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time the issue of whether a photograph admitted at trial showing little damage to a truck involved in an accident is inadmissible on the grounds that it’s irrelevant to any determination of bodily injury.
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Judges won’t revisit associational standing issue on same case

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Finding it had already ruled on an associational standing question six years ago in the same case, the Indiana Court of Appeals has denied an electric utility's attempt to re-litigate that issue based on the law-of-the-case doctrine.
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COA: Suit against sewer district isn’t a public lawsuit

August 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Spencer Circuit Court erred in finding a lawsuit filed by property owners challenging the requirement they connect to a new sewer system is a public lawsuit and the property owners must pay $9 million in bond to proceed with the suit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Court rules on duty of care for healthy trees in residential areas

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reiterated its stance that urban or residential area landowners have a duty to take reasonable precautions regarding their own trees, healthy or otherwise, and make sure they don’t harm a neighbor’s property based on the size and where they are planted.
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Circuit judges order court to take another look at Batson challenge

August 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the record before them, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges were unable to make an informed decision about the District Court’s decision to deny a defendant’s Batson challenge, so the judges sent the case back to the lower court.
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7th Circuit upholds mail fraud convictions

August 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although it found the evidence presented in a mail fraud case “thin,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals viewed it as enough to send the case involving three Calumet Township Trustee’s Office employees to the jury.
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Lawyer can argue for cost-of-living adjustment for increased fees

August 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that an attorney that successfully represented a client in a Social Security disability benefits suit should be allowed to make a request for a cost-of-living adjustment that would exceed the maximum $125 per hour that can be awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
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Judges reverse ruling mechanic's lien has priority over mortgages

August 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled there was no reason for a trial judge to disregard the state’s priority statutes regarding liens and mortgages and find that a construction company’s mechanic’s lien has priority over previously recorded mortgages.
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