Court opinions

Although Miranda rights were violated, physical evidence still admissible

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a man’s incriminating statements made while sitting in a police car should have been suppressed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the error was harmless because the physical evidence seized was sufficient to sustain his convictions.
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Dismissal of Navistar workers’ complaint upheld by 7th Circuit

June 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A group of unionized workers laid off by an Indianapolis engine plant who brought an action for breach of the collective-bargaining agreement didn’t provide enough factual content in their complaint to allow it to proceed in court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Court can’t modify mortgage without both parties’ consent

June 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court doesn’t have the authority to modify a mortgage agreement without the consent of both parties participating in a settlement conference if they don’t agree to the terms of a foreclosure prevention agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Trial court errs in granting motion regarding doctors’ contract dispute

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a cardiologist’s breach of contract complaint may have been “unartfully drafted,” but it still adequately stated a claim for tortious interference with a contract.
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Fines will stand in legislative walkout case

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled the dispute over fines imposed on lawmakers resulting from Democratic walkouts during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions is outside of the court’s authority to render a decision.
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Large 'pay-to-delay' payments may become history after U.S. Supreme Court ruling

June 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States Monday could end the practice of pharmaceutical companies paying competitors very large sums to keep their generics off the market.
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7th Circuit: Deputy was within rights to restrain feuding neighbor from evidence

June 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
When Tippecanoe Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Lendermon got between some long-feuding neighbors in 2009, one of them, Jason Findlay, suggested that he might have trespassed. It became clear to Lendermon the acknowledgement might have been recorded on video surveillance.
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Justices affirm conviction but remand for new sentencing order

June 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 14 years in prison for his convictions on multiple felony gun and drug charges will still have to serve the time, but the court must revise the sentencing order to explain why one conviction was ordered to be served consecutive to the others.
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SCOTUS rules on Myriad BRCA1, BRCA2 patent case

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A naturally occurring DNA segment is not eligible for a patent simply because it has been isolated, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Thursday. DNA that is not a product of nature may be patent eligible, however.
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COA rules in favor of tax sale bidder in dispute over property

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that tax deeds be reinstated and reversed summary judgment and a decree of foreclosure in favor of a bank in a combined appeal over foreclosed property in Elkhart County.
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Mother should have used Admin. Rule 9 in attempt to change name anonymously

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a mother’s request to sidestep the notice requirements in her quest to change her name and the names of her two children anonymously because she wanted to avoid detection from her abusive partner. The appeals court noted that Administrative Rule 9 would have given her the opportunity to proceed anonymously.
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Appeals court reinstates proposed med mal complaint

June 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a Hendricks County court didn’t have jurisdiction to dismiss a man’s proposed complaint for damages under Trial Rule 41(E) or based on noncompliance under the Medical Malpractice Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday reinstated the proposed complaint.
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Judge’s dismissal of claim contesting forfeiture was on ‘unsound’ ground

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a man’s claim contesting forfeiture of nearly $200,000 found in his home during a police search back to the District Court for reconsideration. The judges ruled that the ground for dismissal given by the judge, as well as the alternative ground argued by the government, were “unsound.”
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Jury to decide whether woman was fired for being pregnant

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a company on a fired employee’s claim that her employment was terminated because she was pregnant, finding the company’s explanations for her firing were shifting, inconsistent, and/or facially implausible.
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Judges: Integration clause doesn’t preclude introduction of parol evidence

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday that in the absence of a factual inquiry, the mere presence of an integration clause doesn’t preclude a party from introducing parol evidence that it was fraudulently induced to enter into the agreement as a whole. The decision came in a dispute involving a settlement agreement that one party sought to invalidate based on claims of fraudulent inducement.
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Judges order more proceedings in low-income apartment tax credit case

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because there are genuine issues of material fact regarding claims made against apartment management company Flaherty & Collins in a complaint alleging fraud and other charges dealing with renting apartments to people who did not qualify based on income requirements, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on the case.
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Defendant breached plea agreement by fleeing to Mexico

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that despite his decision to flee the country for five years before he was sentenced in a drug case, the government should have to stick to the terms of his original plea agreement.
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Trial court correctly ruled mother’s consent needed for adoption

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals noted in a decision Monday that the state adoption statute is a bit of a “puzzle” before affirming the lower court’s decision to deny a woman’s attempt to adopt her fiancé’s child. But it found the fiancée may file another petition for adoption if she so chooses.
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3 of former corrections officer’s convictions upheld by appeals court

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A former corrections officer at the Marion County Jail who tried to get a co-worker to fool around with him had three of his four convictions stemming from their interactions upheld Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges reversed one sexual battery conviction because the proof didn’t support Maurice Frazier’s Class D felony conviction.
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Grandchildren not entitled to proceeds of land sale under will

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Monroe Circuit judge did not err in denying a motion by three grandchildren to correct errors in which they claimed that they, instead of their grandmother’s second husband, should have received the proceeds of the sale of land in Bloomington. The Indiana Court of Appeals held the Bloomington residence was adeemed by extinction, so the proceeds of the sale pass to Cora Young’s second husband, Theodore.
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Justices vacate transfer in third appeal of Fort Wayne foreclosure case

June 7, 2013
The Indiana Supreme Court decided this week that it won’t take the third appeal in the case involving a Fort Wayne restaurant operator sued by former mortgagors.
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Panel disagrees as to when woman failed to mitigate damages

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
By a vote of 2-1, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday reduced nearly $94,000 in damages to just $117 after finding the seller of a condo failed to mitigate her damages after the buyers backed out of the sale over repairs. Judge Cale Bradford believed seller Gayle Fischer was entitled to the original damages award.
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Justices uphold termination of mother’s parental rights after years of drug abuse

June 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday set aside the Court of Appeals order dismissing a Dearborn County mother’s appeal of the termination of her parental rights and took the case. The justices affirmed the decision to end her parental rights to her three children.
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COA: Courts need to consider proportionality of damages in restitution orders

June 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Franklin Circuit judge’s decision to require a defendant to pay restitution and a fine after he entered into an open plea agreement on a burglary charge. But the judges instructed trial courts to consider apportioning the amount of restitution among co-perpetrators in relation to each person’s contribution to the victim’s loss.
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Statement in tort claim does not prevent woman from trying to recover for injuries

June 4, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Even though a woman originally stated she did not suffer any injuries after her vehicle was rear ended by a police car, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled she can file a subsequent complaint against the municipality and the police department for personal injuries.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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