Court opinions

Jury should decide whether Duke Realty intended to get law partner fired

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There are genuine issues of material fact as to whether Duke Realty, involved in a dispute over a land agreement with a Parr Richey Obremskey & Morton partner, intentionally induced the firm to terminate Carol Sparks Drake’s partnership agreement and whether that interference was justified, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Man entitled to homestead deduction on Fountain County property

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Tuesday reversed the determination that a man could not receive the homestead standard deduction on his Fountain County property because the decision is unsupported by evidence. The Indiana Board of Tax Review’s conclusion that the property was not Roderick Kellam’s principal place of residence was contrary to law. 
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COA: Insurer has no liability for dog bite injuries

December 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. on the issue of whether it had liability to cover the damages sought by the parents of a boy bit by a dog on the insured’s property. The person residing at the home, whose dog bit the boy, was not considered an insured under the policy.
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Property tax assessment prevents township from controlling cemetery

December 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because a couple had paid taxes on the land where a cemetery existed since 1967, the township did not have authority under Indiana law to exercise control over that cemetery, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Monday.
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State didn’t prove woman took drug while on probation

December 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the revocation of a Sullivan County woman’s probation, finding the state didn’t demonstrate that Michelle Orr Carpenter took a barbiturate while on probation.
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COA: Bank lacks standing to appeal trust terminations

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Old National Bancorp cannot appeal the termination of two trusts it served as a representative of, either in the representative capacity or on an individual capacity, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. As such, the court dismissed the appeal.
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Ex-wife allowed to enter QDRO 20 years after divorce

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression regarding when a qualified domestic relations order must be filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a woman who waited 20 years after her divorce to have her ex-husband sign a QDRO for division of his pension may still be able to submit it.
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Policy provisions preclude coverage in settlement of class claims

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the “voluntary payment” and “legally obligated to pay” provisions precluded coverage, a trial court properly entered partial judgment in favor of an insurer of a distillery involved in a settlement over damages caused to nearby buildings by the distillation process.
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Husband can’t recover insurance proceeds after wife burns down house

December 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday held that when an insurance company includes an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss resulting from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will enforce that exclusion. Because a man’s policy included such an exclusion, he can’t recover insurance proceeds after his wife burnt down their home on purpose.
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Kraft wins in food fight with Cracker Barrel

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal appeals court ruled recently that savvy consumers might be confused if food branded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was sold in grocery stores that carry Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand cheese. Turns out even a law professor who teaches a course on trademarks and unfair competition might be fooled.
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Insurance employee loses overtime appeal

December 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
An insurance company employee lost an appeal for overtime compensation when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed a District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer.
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Non-custodial parent must still pay arrearages to cover funeral expenses

November 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
An emancipated child will be able to collect child support arrearages to pay for her custodial parent’s funeral but she and her sibling will not be allowed to accept the remainder of the accrued support payments, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA reversal: Property manager can’t keep renter’s late fees

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A property owner’s lawsuit seeking a class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters was revived by the Court of Appeals on Wednesday. The appellate panel reversed dismissal of the suit and ordered further proceedings.
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Trial court must properly exercise discretion on sentencing

November 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a trial court had the ability to deny a man credit for time served, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the lower court did not follow proper procedure when it granted actual days credit.
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Mother who was abused may be required to help fund father's supervised visitation

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a domestic violence victim whose earnings since have increased may have to pay for supervised child-visitation services that the father is unable to afford.
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Verification letters support estoppel argument

November 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A series of verification letters from a subcontractor to a contractor provided the grounds for the doctrine of promissory estoppel from being applied to commercial transactions.
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Judges divided over complicated issue of wrongful-death attorney fees

November 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A complex and complicated case regarding whether attorney fees awarded from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund are capped at 15 percent led to a split in the Indiana Court of Appeals. The majority decided that the cap does not apply to the calculation of excess damages of any type from the fund.
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Prosecutor’s ‘CSI’ remarks don’t reverse molestation conviction

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A prosecutor’s comments to a prospective juror comparing the evidence needed for a conviction to that seen in a typical “CSI” television show weren’t fundamental error, a Court of Appeals panel ruled in affirming a man’s child-molestation conviction.
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Malpractice complaint hobbled by ongoing foot pain

November 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who suffered with a troubled toe for four years got her medical malpractice claim booted by the Indiana Court of Appeals for waiting too long to file the complaint.
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Panel affirms robbery conviction in confrontation clause appeal

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defendant who was denied the opportunity to cross-examine an expert witness who provided cell phone records placing him near the scene of a Morgantown bank robbery wasn’t deprived a fair trial, the Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
 
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Divided Supreme Court reinstates claim DCS mishandled abuse case

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
Claims that the Department of Child Services was negligent in its handling of child-molestation allegations were reinstated Tuesday, when a divided Indiana Supreme Court in a 3-2 opinion reversed in part a trial court grant of summary judgment.
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Federal judge blocks Indiana abortion-drug law

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal judge Tuesday granted an injunction blocking enforcement of an Indiana law that would have required Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortion-inducing medications to also meet the requirements of clinics that perform surgical abortions.
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Judges affirm man must pay $5,000 in attorney fees to ex-wife

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Allen County man was unsuccessful in his attempts to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the order he pay $5,000 in attorney fees to his ex-wife in litigation over their child’s contact with the ex-wife’s new husband.
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COA: Wife of man injured at work entitled to benefits

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision to deny benefits to a man injured at work was unsupported by the evidence. The judges ordered a determination of the benefits that the man’s widow should receive on his behalf.
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Commitment statute not unconstitutional as applied to man with brain injury

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior Court did not violate a defendant’s due process rights in ordering his commitment to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction after finding him incompetent to stand trial. Evan Leedy suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident that killed his girlfriend and injured another driver.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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