Court opinions

Justices decline to apply dollar for dollar credit for Social Security retirement benefits

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday declined to revisit previous caselaw regarding crediting Social Security Retirement benefits to a noncustodial parent’s child support obligation. The justices affirmed the trial court’s decision to include the benefits in the custodial parent’s weekly adjusted income.
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COA finds man knew of protective order and violated it

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There is ample evidence proving that a Marion County man was aware his ex-girlfriend obtained a protective order against him when he broke into her home, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Order prohibiting boyfriend from spending time with children too broad

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The longtime boyfriend of a mother of triplets should be allowed to continue his relationship with her children as long as it does not undermine or damage the relationship with their father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As such, the judges reversed the order preventing the boyfriend from spending time with the children alone.
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Inmate’s negligence suit may continue, court rules

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on a negligence lawsuit filed by an Indiana Department of Correction inmate after he fell and injured himself. In the decision, the judges also decided that prison operators are subject to liability in much the same manner as other private actors.
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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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