Court opinions

Judge: Undeveloped land can be assessed as agricultural

April 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Friday upheld a final determination by the Indiana Board of Tax Review to assess farm land as agricultural that was purchased by a developer but remained undeveloped for years.
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Judges affirm restitution order, sentence following deadly crash

April 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was speeding and under the influence of alcohol when his car struck another, killing the driver and severely injuring the passenger, will have to make restitution to the victims, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man found guilty again in South Bend murder

April 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A St. Joseph County man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend – but later had the conviction overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court – was found guilty again April 12 of murder.
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Court reverses hotel’s cybersquatting conviction

April 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A dispute over who could use the designation “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” led to a legal battle between LaPorte County’s visitors bureau and an area hotel-resort, with the trial court ruling in favor of the visitors bureau. But the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Monday, ruling the bureau didn’t prove it held a valid and protectable trademark.
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Police Merit Commission may discipline former assistant chief

April 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A former assistant police chief of the City of Greenwood who was demoted to lieutenant may be disciplined by the city’s Police Merit Commission, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The officer argued that based on ordinances and codes, only the mayor could discipline police chiefs or assistant chiefs.
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Justices rule in favor of sewer facility operator in condemnation action

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving a compensation award for condemnation initiated by Fort Wayne’s Board of Public Works that may appear at first blush as a “no brainer” is actually not as simple as it seems, the Indiana Supreme Court pointed out Thursday.
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Contractor wins on appeal of $14.5M damages award for defamation

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. is on the hook for $14.5 million in damages after a contractor prevailed on his defamation claim against the insurer. The award is one of the largest defamation damages in the country, according to the court.
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State Farm must pay contractor $14.5M for defamation

April 11, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a $14.5 million award of damages against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. after finding the insurer couldn’t prove its three arguments on appeal to reverse. The award is one of the largest defamation awards in U.S. history, according to the court.
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Electric cooperative owed no duty to injured contractor

April 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An independent contractor injured at a generating station owned by Bloomington-based Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative was unable to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the electric cooperative was negligent regarding his injury.
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7th Circuit: Federal courts or juries can’t decide religious questions

April 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Taking up three appeals stemming from a lawsuit filed surrounding control of religious documents and artifacts from the appearance of the Virgin Mary, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a federal judge erred in ruling that it should be up to a jury to decide whether a party to the lawsuit is still a religious sister.
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COA affirms father’s convictions stemming from daughter’s injuries

April 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a St. Joseph County man’s claims that the trial court abused its discretion regarding the admission and exclusion of certain evidence at his jury trial for charges related to injuries to his infant daughter.
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Vouchers validated, program scope at issue

April 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
The recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling affirming school choice renews Statehouse fight over vouchers.
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COA rules trial court cannot exceed scope of plea agreement

April 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man will have to serve his full sentence, but the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled since his plea agreement makes no mention of restitution, he will not have to pay.
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7th Circuit upholds precedent but asks for further guidance from U.S. Sentencing Commission

April 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a gun buyer had his sentence affirmed, his argument for reduced time has caused the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to call upon the Sentencing Commission to clarify a section of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
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Disfigurement sufficient to affirm aggravated battery conviction

April 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a Marion Superior Court conviction in a 2012 stabbing and the 20-year sentence enhancement the perpetrator received.
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7th Circuit revives suit for woman with MS fired from city job

April 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis woman who worked in the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis may pursue her discrimination and retaliation claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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Malpractice ruling for hospital remanded to trial court

April 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
The apparent agency of Ball Memorial Health Clinic as it pertains to the alleged malpractice of an affiliated doctor and nurse practitioner is a fact question the Indiana Court of Appeals sent back to the trial court, which had granted the hospital summary judgment on the issue.
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7th Circuit affirms for employer in rental equipment fatality

April 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
An employer bears no liability in a lawsuit brought by the estate of a man who died operating a rented 40-foot boom lift, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Mexican restaurant owner's $3 million bond reversed, remanded

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
The owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants in southeast Indiana charged with numerous crimes will have a lower bond after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to reduce his $3 million bond.
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Taking unauthorized courses online gets displaced worker booted from TAA program

April 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A displaced worker’s enrollment in online classes without permission is grounds for dismissal from the Trade Adjustment Assistance training program, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Appeals court rehearing affirms serious violent felon conviction

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Supreme Court ruling that a conviction of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon cannot have a sentence enhanced under the habitual offender statute does not apply when the enhancement came for a separate conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Endorsement clause makes insurance policy ambiguous

April 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Describing an insurance company’s policy as “inherently ambiguous,” the Indiana Court of Appeals has reserved the summary judgment granted by the trial court.
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COA affirms car forfeiture when owner arrested for iPhone theft

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Wal-Mart worker who tried to steal four iPhones from the store at the end of her workday has no protection from forfeiture laws that allowed the state to take her car, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Toxicology lab witness’s failure to appear dooms drunken-driving conviction

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Tennessee man’s drunken-driving conviction in Shelby Superior Court was tossed because his trial took place more than a year after his arrest, largely due to a toxicology lab worker’s failure to appear for scheduled depositions, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Justices affirm denial of killer’s post-conviction relief

April 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man originally sentenced to die for the 2006 murders of a mother and her 8- and 13-year-old daughters will continue to serve his converted sentence of life without parole after the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon affirmed a trial court’s denial of post-conviction relief.
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