Court opinions

COA: Schools required to transport students for free

June 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Indiana students cannot be charged to ride the bus to and from school. The judges found an arrangement between a school corporation and a private company that required parents to pay for their children to ride the bus violated the state constitution.
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Nonprofit unable to prove it is entitled to charitable tax exemption

June 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Friday upheld the decision to deny a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year to a Bartholomew County nonprofit that provides housing for low-income residents. The court agreed the nonprofit failed to show that its rental properties qualified for the exemption under I.C. 6-1.1-10-16.
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COA: Man’s sentence after guilty plea is illegal

June 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s 10-year sentence resulting from a guilty plea for abusing his adopted teenaged children, holding that the sentence was based on an incorrect application of I.C. 35-50-1-2.
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Husband’s agreement doesn’t preclude judgment against wife

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A company is allowed to sue both parties who executed a promissory note seeking recovery of owed funds because it will still only be entitled to one satisfaction on the debt, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Court rules gynecologist can’t testify on mental competency

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A bank is able to foreclose on a mortgage against the estate of a deceased 95-year-old woman who opened the line of credit to pay her granddaughter to take care of her. But the elderly woman’s daughter argued the granddaughter unduly influenced Mildred Borgwald to open the account.
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COA orders trial over 1 issue in contaminated development land suit

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial on the issue of whether the known loss doctrine would bar coverage of an insurance policy held by the owner of land sold for a housing development that later was found to have been contaminated with toxic waste. A builder sued the landowner, claiming he knew of the potential contamination and failed to inform the builder.
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No abuse by trial court in modifying maintenance payment terms

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied a man’s petition to revoke spousal maintenance.
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Justices question prosecutor’s tactics, but decline to award new trial

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that while a Marion County prosecutor committed one instance of prosecutorial misconduct during a man’s trial for sexual misconduct with a minor, the effect of this misconduct did not make a fair trial for the defendant impossible.
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Depositions delayed in Spierer civil case

June 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
Attorneys for the parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer must delay more than a dozen planned depositions. The depositions were scheduled this month in four cities in the federal civil trial naming two of the people believed to have last seen Spierer.
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Justices reverse, reinstate wrongful death claim against nursing home

June 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
The estate of a woman who died in a nursing home after an attack by another resident may pursue a wrongful death claim, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The family was initially told the woman suffered a fall but learned of the attack years later.
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COA affirms court order in trailer ownership and use dispute

June 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
A court that granted relief from a previous order in a dispute over the ownership and use of 119 semi-trailers was affirmed Tuesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Sentences imposed on Anderson juveniles in double homicide reduced

June 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
Two Anderson youths convicted for their roles in the shooting deaths of a couple they robbed of money and marijuana may someday be freed from prison after the Indiana Supreme Court significantly reduced their sentences Monday.
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Prosecutor’s ‘continual misconduct’ warrants new molestation trial

June 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man’s child molesting convictions were vacated and he was granted a new trial by the Indiana Court of Appeals, which found prosecutorial misconduct amounting to fundamental error. It’s the second reversal and remand attributable to the same prosecutor, the court noted.
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Admitting rifle into evidence not abuse of discretion, COA rules

May 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Telling the jury that an assault rifle was found in the car of the defendant did not unduly prejudice the jurors, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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COA affirms remand to prior judge over father’s objection

May 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A special judge appointed in a paternity case ruled correctly that matters in the case remanded by the Court of Appeals should be heard by the prior judge who heard the evidence, the appellate court held in a second appeal on the matter.
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COA: Hip-replacement tort cases must be heard where implants were done

May 30, 2014
Dave Stafford

Plaintiffs from Mississippi and Virginia may not pursue litigation in Marion County over defective replacement hip devices manufactured in northern Indiana, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

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Justifiable reason to stop driver enough to confirm subsequent conviction

May 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
Although a police officer began following a pick-up truck after he mistakenly ran the wrong license plate number, the driver’s conviction will stand because the officer did not initiate the stop until he observed the driver make a traffic violation.
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Justices order further proceedings in underinsured motorist coverage case

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because issues of material fact remain regarding the applicable level of underinsured motorist coverage provided by a policy on a semi-tractor trailer, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed summary judgment for the insurance company.
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Man kicked out of community corrections for assaulting inmate loses appeal

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A community corrections program has the authority to not accept a man after being released from prison because he kicked another inmate in the face while assigned to a community transition program, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Judges affirm expungement of sheriff deputy’s arrest

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to grant a sheriff deputy’s petition for expungement of his arrest record dealing with four counts of Class D felony theft. His employer argued that he received pay from the police force while working at other jobs.
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Sisters can’t prove brother unduly influenced mother in crafting estate plan

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the order by a trial court that the execution of an option contract by a woman to her son was enforceable. The woman’s daughters claimed the contract was a result of undue influence.
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Doctor’s statute of limitations defense in med mal claim rejected by justices

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A doctor who chose to perform just one biopsy instead of two on a woman who later was diagnosed with cervical cancer is not entitled to summary judgment on his defense asserting the medical malpractice statute of limitations, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
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Justices affirm judgment in favor of national fraternity in wrongful death action

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A national fraternity assumed no duty to protect local chapter pledges and is not vicariously liable for the negligence of local chapter officers and representatives, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The justices affirmed summary judgment for Delta Tau Delta in a wrongful death action brought by a deceased pledge’s family.
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Court affirms Steuben County couple’s 2006 real property assessment

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Steuben County couple could not convince the Indiana Tax Court to find that the $292,800 land assessment of their residential property in 2006 was too high.
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Dairy Queen did not discriminate against blind employee

May 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a firm that operates Dairy Queens in Indianapolis on a former employee’s claim the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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