Court opinions

Accused molester denied chance to present complete defense

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the testimony and evidence a man accused of child molesting wished to present at trial – but was denied by the trial court – was critical to his defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his two molestation convictions.
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Court rules against Menard on roofing company’s lawsuit for payment

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered summary judgment entered in favor of a roofing services company on claims of breach of contract against Menard Inc., finding Menard was unable to establish a dispute of material fact as to its right to withhold payment.
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Orbitz contracts with hotels are ‘trade secrets,’ Tax Court rules

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Wednesday granted online travel company Orbitz LLC’s request to place certain documents under seal – including contracts the company has with three Indiana hotels. Judge Martha Wentworth determined that the contracts are trade secrets, so they are not subject to public disclosure.
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Judges disagree on when duty to exercise ordinary care extends to beneficiaries

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Tuesday on whether a legal malpractice lawsuit filed by third-party beneficiaries of a will against their relative’s attorney should proceed beyond summary judgment. The case hinged on the interpretation of the “known” requirement outlined in Walker v. Lawson.
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Ex-wife not entitled to half of pension earned after divorce

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a trial court did not impermissibly modify a property settlement agreement or decree, but simply clarified that the intent of the parties was to divide the marital property acquired during the marriage and before the final date of separation.
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7th Circuit affirms above-guidelines sentence for embezzlement

October 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s 60-month sentence for stealing from his employer for many years – a sentence beyond the advisory guidelines range – is reasonable, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The man challenged the District Court’s recalculation of his guidelines range after he appealed his sentence.
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Teacher’s suggestive messages to student were ‘immoral’ but not a crime, COA rules

October 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Indiana Court of Appeals found a high school teacher’s behavior toward a 16-year-old female student to be “deplorable and immoral,” it overturned his convictions because his actions were not criminal under statute.
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COA reverses contempt finding, but upholds sanctions

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A nurse who made false allegations leading to the detention of a co-worker for mental health reasons will have to pay as ordered toward the woman’s attorney fees even though the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an indirect civil contempt finding.
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Divided COA: Statement on record unneeded to waive jury trial

October 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
The majority of a Court of Appeals panel affirmed a Hendricks County man’s conviction in a bench trial of misdemeanor intimidation, but a dissenting COA judge wrote the defendant was improperly denied a jury trial and his conviction should be tossed.
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COA clears way for negligence complaint against medical device company

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit filed against medical device manufacturer Medtronic following the death of a man who had one of the company’s medical devices implanted can continue, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. It held the Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not preempt a family’s negligence claim.
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Jury should hear discrimination suit filed by fired ‘salesman of the year’

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The reasons a company gave for firing its most productive salesman – who also happened to be its oldest – raise potential credibility issues, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges decided the salesman’s age discrimination lawsuit should proceed to a jury.
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Mother unable to show error in terminating her parental rights

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother of four children with special needs who also has a cognitive disability, was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals she should be allowed to keep custody of her children.
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COA still finds supervised visitation argument moot

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After acknowledging that a father did file a reply brief arguing the issue of supervised parenting time was not moot, the Indiana Court of Appeals on rehearing still found his argument to be moot.
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COA affirms parental termination in child’s best interest

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother’s inability to adequately care for her child, leading to the girl’s failure to thrive, supports the termination of mother’s parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Having the ingredients is not proof of a man’s intention to cook

October 10, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite the state’s attempt to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that its decision in a similar case was erroneous, the panel upheld precedent and found that a man’s possession of cold tablets and batteries is not proof he intended to manufacture methamphetamine.
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Owners of spooked horse entitled to summary judgment in negligence suit

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the owners of a horse that trampled a man after getting loose at the Marshall County 4-H Fairgrounds didn’t have reason to know the horse had any dangerous propensities prior to the accident. The court affirmed summary judgment in a negligence lawsuit on the issue.
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Warrick County man’s land correctly classified as residential excess acreage

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Warrick County man fighting the 2009 tax year assessment of his land received only a partial victory in the Indiana Tax Court Tuesday. The validity of his 2009 assessment will stand.
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Participation in travel soccer league supports modifying custody

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a mother’s request to modify a custody order entered in 2007 when her children were in grade school, finding their participation in travel soccer leagues and the distance between the parents’ homes warrants a change.
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Sub shop’s appeal 86’d by court

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Jersey Mike’s Subs located in the now-closed College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend didn’t have the right to continue operating in the Hall of Fame building, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the operating agreement.
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Lilly scientists stole $55M in secrets, indictment alleges

October 9, 2013
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
Three former employees of Eli Lilly and Co. allegedly transferred trade secrets that Lilly values at more than $55 million to a competing Chinese drug company, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in federal court.
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Court rules for widow in Holiday World suit

October 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The widow and children of the late William Koch Jr. can keep their shares in the southern Indiana theme park, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, after a ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that William’s brother, Dan Koch, and Koch Development Corp. offered too little money for the shares.
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‘Notre Dame 88’ lawyer cleared in discipline case

October 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
An attorney who argued that a judge’s bias warranted her recusal from a case involving pro-life students arrested for protesting the announcement of President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame was cleared of disciplinary charges Tuesday.
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Trial court's suppression order binding to ethics commission

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
After turning to the Indiana State Ethics Commission when a trial court ordered the evidence in a theft case suppressed, the state was reminded it “does not get a second bite at the apple.”   
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Walking down sidewalk while drunk does not meet new conditions for public intox, COA rules

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Four criteria added to the state’s public intoxication statute in 2012 presented the Indiana Court of Appeals with a question of first impression when it considered a man’s arrest for being drunk in a public place.
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COA reverses involuntary termination order for a second time

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals sharply rebuked a trial court as having “committed clear error” by relying on old evidence and testimony in terminating a Vanderburgh County couple’s parental rights.
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