Court opinions

Appeals court affirms judgment in family land-contract dispute

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly ruled that an insurance company owed no duty to a mother who sold property on contract to her son and daughter-in-law, but the son and daughter-in-law who collected proceeds from the policy do.
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Bridge complaint raises questions about governmental immunity

September 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed conflicting caselaw about a government’s immunity from liability before siding with the older precedent and ruling that any move to overturn that case should be left to the Indiana Supreme Court. 
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Attorney fees affirmed in trucking dispute; COA declines to bar such awards

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
An appellate panel Tuesday affirmed an award of attorney fees under a standard industry agreement and declined an invitation to strip Indiana trial courts of the ability to enter such judgments.
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Instructions not to letter of the law, but no harm done

September 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s failure to give jury instructions that strictly adhered to the language contained in the Indiana Code and Indiana Jury Rule was not grounds for the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn a guilty verdict.
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Judge: Suit challenging Marion County judicial slating may proceed

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that has given rise to the Democratic and Republican slating system under which Marion Superior judges are elected will go forward.
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Failure to register in Indiana opens door for state charges against Ponzi scheme mastermind

September 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a man at the center of an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 72 victims in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will have to face state charges even though he pleaded guilty to a federal indictment.
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Reversal: Trust bears liability for builder’s nonpayment despite lien notice discrepancies

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trust that won summary judgment at the trial court against a supplier of building materials for construction of a home on Lake Michigan got the opposite result from an appeals court Friday. The trust is liable, even though it paid builders who failed to reimburse the supplier for materials provided on credit.
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Double jeopardy does not prohibit state from retrying defendant on lesser charge

September 12, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a man’s conviction was overturned, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled he can still be retried on the same charge without violating double jeopardy prohibitions because “a rational jury” would have considered more than one element of the crime.
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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; tipster’s observations reasonable cause

September 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated Thursday, though one panelist wrote the court went deeper into the analysis of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment claim than it needed to do.
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Dispatcher fired after firecracker incident loses unemployment appeal

September 12, 2013
An appeals court panel Thursday affirmed denial of unemployment benefits for a Starke County sheriff’s dispatcher who took time off work after a firecracker exploded behind her at work and she was diagnosed with hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus.
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Parental liability as co-signers on kids’ school loans subject to divorce decree

September 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
Student loan liabilities of parents who co-signed for their two children should have been a consideration in dividing property in a divorce proceeding, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Insurer’s exclusion stands after bar fight

September 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman’s own description of a barroom brawl that left her with a broken arm was used against her in allowing an insurance company to deny coverage.
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Worker’s Compensation Act is only remedy for injured employee

September 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A construction worker injured on a job site will have to find remedy through the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act after the Indiana Court of Appeals denied his attempt to sue a subcontractor.
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7th Circuit declines to second guess co-defendant credibility in firearm sentence

September 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Contradictory testimony given in two plea agreements presented the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, with the “classic choice” of whom to believe.
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Appeals court finds IU med student properly dismissed

September 3, 2013
Dave Stafford
A third-year student at Indiana University School of Medicine kicked out after the university concluded he cheated on an exam lost his appeal of the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the university.
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Exclusion of money talk not a reversible error

September 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s error in excluding explicit statements about money is not reversible and does not provide the grounds to overturn a drug conviction.
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Heavily redacted report cannot hide behind business-judgment rule

September 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a report produced by a special litigation committee contains privileged information, the plaintiffs must be allowed full access to the unredacted version in order to determine if the investigation was extensive and conduced in good faith.
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Firing of officer who stunned nursing home patient was supported by evidence

September 3, 2013
Dave Stafford
A police chief and city review board were within their rights to terminate the employment of an officer who repeatedly used a Taser on a 64-year-old nursing home patient. An appellate panel Monday reversed a trial court order that had thrown out the officer’s firing.
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Newspaper loses appeal over access to death records

August 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
A newspaper was not improperly denied access to death records, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Affirmed sentence in home invasion, sex assault clarifies aggravator standards

August 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man’s 40-year executed sentence for leading a home invasion and forcing the woman who lived there to perform oral sex at gunpoint wasn’t improper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Brown County logging damages award stands

August 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A landowner’s award of $55,572.50 in damages caused by a logging contractor at a property in Brown County was properly calculated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Appeals panel reinstates claims of capacity, undue influence in trust dispute

August 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A family feud involving half-siblings contesting the trust bequeathed by their mother was improperly disposed of through summary judgment, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Man tried twice for same offense, but relief denial affirmed

August 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a man convicted of rape on retrial was unconstitutionally prosecuted twice for the same offense, but the court upheld denial of post-conviction relief.
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Supreme Court takes closer reading of precedent in affirming post-conviction relief

August 28, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man’s 2002 guilty plea to a habitual traffic violator offense will be set aside after the Indiana Supreme Court held his 1989 conviction in Fayette County constituted a material error.
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Justices affirm new trial in estate awarded $41,400 in hotel killing

August 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court order for a new trial in a case involving a  $41,400 award made to the estate of a man who was killed at a Speedway hotel by a former employee.
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