Court opinions

COA: Wife of man injured at work entitled to benefits

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision to deny benefits to a man injured at work was unsupported by the evidence. The judges ordered a determination of the benefits that the man’s widow should receive on his behalf.
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Commitment statute not unconstitutional as applied to man with brain injury

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior Court did not violate a defendant’s due process rights in ordering his commitment to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction after finding him incompetent to stand trial. Evan Leedy suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident that killed his girlfriend and injured another driver.
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Order for IBM to pay subcontractor in state suits affirmed

November 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
An appeals court Tuesday affirmed trial court orders that IBM pay a subcontractor for costs it incurred related to lawsuits over the failed $1.3 billion Family and Social Services Administration modernization contract.
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Court properly declined to modify spousal maintenance agreement

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An ex-wife must pay her husband $4,000 a month in spousal maintenance under an agreement she signed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, affirming a trial court’s decision to deny the woman’s request to modify the maintenance.
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Justices: Trustee of revocable trust serves self

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted a revocable trust case to answer the first impression question: While a trust is revocable, whom does the trustee serve? The justices concluded that an Indiana woman, as trustee, served herself.
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7th Circuit: Federal law does not preempt Indiana’s ‘robo-call’ statute

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday reversed the decision by a federal judge that Indiana’s Automated Dialing Machine Statute is preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The injunction entered against enforcing the law had been stayed by the appellate court pending appeal.
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Justices: Search of vehicle violated woman’s constitutional rights

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday reversed the admittance of statements a woman made to police after a concerned citizen set up a sting operation attempting to catch an alleged drug dealer. The justices held that the warrantless seizure of Danielle Kelly’s person and vehicle violated her constitutional rights.
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Foster child’s claim against health center falls outside Medical Malpractice Act

November 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Morgan County court erred when it granted Adult and Child Mental Health Center Inc.’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of a child in foster care who suffered severe brain damage from a near-drowning. The center argued the complaint was subject to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.
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Text messages properly admitted in custody dispute

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that evidence presented during a custody modification hearing laid a sufficient foundation for the admission of text messages between the mother and father. 
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Court rules in favor of subcontractor suing Fort Wayne

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court properly granted summary judgment for a subcontractor seeking payment from the city of Fort Wayne after the general contractor working on the city park project declared bankruptcy.
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Court finds facilities have immunity in suit over detention

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The three unidentified entities involved in the detention of a Bloomington man for several days after he refused in-patient treatment for alcoholism are entitled to immunity in his lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Neighbors entitled to 12-foot strip of land under doctrine by acquiescence

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between longtime neighbors over use and ownership of a strip of land, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for one set of neighbors based on the doctrine of title by acquiescence.
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COA: Possession of syringe doesn’t support conviction

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the state did not introduce evidence that a man intended to use a syringe found in his pocket after being stopped by police to inject a controlled substance into his body, his conviction for Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia must be reversed, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.
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COA permits Knightstown to abolish town court

November 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A battle between a town council and a judge over the fate of the local town court was stopped with the Indiana Court of Appeals noting the Indiana Legislature tends not to enact statutes that produce “unjust or absurd results.”
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Justices affirm trucker’s cocaine-dealing convictions

November 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the cocaine-dealing convictions of a truck driver who challenged the state police stop that led to discovery of the drugs and claimed he was denied a speedy trial.
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Kraft prevails in Cracker Barrel fight

November 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
Not coming soon to a grocery store near you: food products from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants.
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COA: Food odors don’t support granting preliminary injunctive relief

November 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute over smells from a produce business drifting into neighboring businesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the manager of the shopping plaza is not entitled to preliminary injunctive relief for cooking foods without proper ventilation.
More

Injured woman’s insurance policy provisions are in direct conflict

November 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday agreed with a couple that their auto insurance policy is ambiguous because the two-year contractual limitation provision conflicts with another provision requiring full compliance with the contract.
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Partially bifurcating trial prevented prejudice

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s argument that he was prejudiced by a trial court’s decision to not fully bifurcate his murder trial failed in the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices affirm dismissal of Logansport power plant suit

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Local units of government may engage in preliminary talks or solicit prospective public-private partners before those units of government have adopted legislation enabling such agreements, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a challenge to Logansport’s efforts to overhaul a coal-burning power plant.
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Possible improper use of risk assessment in sentencing not enough for remand

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man convicted of child molesting and incest will not get a chance to have his 99-year sentence reduced. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that even though the trial court may have abused its discretion, the sentence was not inappropriate.
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Justices affirm rejection of tendered jury instruction

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judges have wide discretion regarding when and whether to use tendered jury instructions, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in affirming the conviction of a criminal defendant whose proffered instructions on defense of another were rejected.
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Drug-dog sniff after traffic stop was rightly suppressed

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana trial court rightly suppressed drug evidence gathered after a police drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of meth in a van after a traffic stop.
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Increased bail is abuse of discretion, panel rules

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court abused its discretion when it raised a defendant’s bail in a meth possession case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA rules preliminary injunction wrongly extended noncompete agreement

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In reviewing a dispute over the terms of a noncompete agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals reminded the trial court that a preliminary injunction has limits.
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  5. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

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