Court opinions

Court splits over whether approval of entire contract must be voided

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Chief Judge Margret Robb dissented from her colleagues on the Court of Appeals Tuesday as to whether approval of a contract for the purchase and sale of substitute natural gas must be voided in its entirety because the contract definition of “retail end use customer” differs from the statutory definition.
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Agency erred in adjusting experience account rates after merger

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered the Department of Workforce Development to reinstate the original contribution rates for unemployment insurance experience accounts of a parent company and its subsidiaries. The DWD should not have combined the accounts and adjusted the rates following a merger.
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COA affirms $550,000 med mal verdict; denies appellate attorney fees

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior judge did not err when he allowed a witness to testify on behalf of the party bringing a medical malpractice complaint against a doctor nor in excluding the testimony of the doctor’s expert witness due to untimely disclosure, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Judges affirm decision in familial dispute over insurance funds

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
When Nathaniel Kappel died, it led to a dispute in the family as to who is entitled to insurance payouts on policies that Nathaniel Kappel and his brother William took out on each other in 1996. The Court of Appeals agreed with the probate court that Nathaniel Kappel’s estate is not entitled to funds from either man’s policy.
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Judges amend man’s convictions due to double jeopardy violations

October 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Because the state relied on the same evidence to convict a Marion County man of three domestic battery or battery charges, the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated two misdemeanors. The judges also found no fundamental error in his sentencing or by the prosecutor during trial.
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Woman’s claim for reformation of deed fails

October 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Vanderburgh County woman who filed a lawsuit for reformation of a deed 46 years after receiving the warranty deed lost her appeal of a trial court ruling in favor of neighboring property owners.
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Law firm can’t collect attorney fees from insurer

October 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on caselaw from 1892, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided that Ken Nunn Law Office may not collect attorney fees it says are owed by a former client from a third-party insurance company following a settlement.
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Judges find wired payment timely

October 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals declined to expand upon language in a forbearance agreement between a bank and business owner, finding the business owner timely made his final payment to the bank when he wired the money the day it was due, even though the bank did not receive it until the next day.
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Majority affirms couple didn’t establish element of adverse possession

October 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Two Indiana Court of Appeals judges upheld a judgment in favor of landowners on a complaint filed to quiet title in a disputed area of land, finding the couple seeking to quiet title failed to establish the control element of adverse possession.
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Court revises sentence based on plea agreement language

October 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reduced a woman’s sentence for theft, forgery and check fraud after finding the trial court erred by imposing a sentence that violated the terms of her plea agreement.
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Justices affirm denial of claim arising after arbitration

October 23, 2012
Dave Stafford
A claim arising after a dispute between a company and its accountant was resolved through binding arbitration may not proceed, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Term of imprisonment reduced by half after COA rules sentence does not fit the crime

October 23, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who pleaded guilty to child molesting had his sentence halved by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the sentence imposed by the trial court was an outlier.
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COA: Judge’s late recusal not reversible error

October 23, 2012
Dave Stafford
An Adams Circuit Court judge who learned that he had previously represented a defendant on trial in his courtroom acted appropriately when he recused himself but denied a mistrial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Court affirms judgments in pollution case, remands for determination of credit due

October 23, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals found no errors in a trial court’s ruling in a dispute over insurance coverage to clean up a pollution spill at a westside Indianapolis business, but it sent the case back to the trial court for a determination of credit due an insurer.
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7th Circuit affirms block on Planned Parenthood defunding

October 23, 2012
Dave Stafford
An injunction against an Indiana law that blocks state Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood has been upheld by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Court of Appeals rules that blinking turn signal not enough to support drug conviction

October 19, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding that the continuous use of a turn signal without turning does not justify a traffic stop, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out a conviction for possession of marijuana.
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Prosecutor error insufficient to reverse murder conviction

October 19, 2012
Dave Stafford
A prosecutor improperly presented facts that were not in evidence and inflamed the passions and prejudices of jurors in a murder trial, but his improper conduct didn’t rise to the level of reversible error, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges order habitual offender enhancement vacated

October 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court erred when it denied a defendant’s request for post-conviction relief to vacate a habitual offender enhancement, finding a case decided after the man’s direct appeal applies retroactively.
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10 schools to schedule girls’ basketball on Friday, Saturday nights

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
By the 2016-2017 school year, boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball games at one high school will be equally scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights, according to a consent decree entered Monday in federal court. The agreement comes after a lawsuit challenged that girls’ games are typically scheduled on school nights or other non-preferred times.
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Justices uphold denial of benefits for fired employee

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Justice Steven David authored a unanimous opinion Wednesday in which the court held “when the facts of a case support more than one statutory ground for discharge, we are not confined to narrowly review the [Indiana Department of Workforce Development] Review Board’s decision when the facts point to the Review Board’s ultimately correct conclusion.”
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COA affirms $55k judgment for couple who purchased wind turbine

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found that a St. Joseph Superior judge applied the correct legal standard in determining that a company breached a contract with a couple that purchased a wind turbine that failed to live up to the company’s claims.
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Judges uphold family has no right of access through neighbor’s property

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A family claiming that for more than 50 years they had an easement to access portions of their land through a neighbor’s property lost before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Court upholds conviction for theft of water heater

October 16, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a man’s argument that he didn’t know he couldn’t take a water heater from an Indianapolis apartment complex to scrap, finding that the evidence supports his theft conviction.
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Court orders BMV to hold hearing on whether felon can get ID

October 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has found a convicted felon’s due process clause claim “has teeth” and that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles must determine whether to issue the man an identification card even though his last name on his birth certificate and Social Security card do not match.
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Delayed ordinance publication doesn’t affect power to annex

October 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Landowners challenging the annexation of portions of land in Hamilton County to the city of Westfield lost their appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The remonstrators claimed the city’s delayed publication of annexation ordinances should have barred the annexation.
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