Courts

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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‘Illegal alien’ remark leads to attorney’s suspension; case involves embattled judge

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Representing a father in a child visitation dispute, a Martinsville lawyer’s letter to opposing counsel alleging the mother was an illegal alien resulted in a 30-day suspension.
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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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JTAC oversight committee sets initial meeting

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
The first meeting of the committee created by the Legislature to oversee the Indiana Supreme Court’s technology initiatives – chief among them continued implementation of the Odyssey case management system – will take place Tuesday morning.
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Attorney general files right-to-work appeal with Indiana Supreme Court

September 12, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana attorney general filed notice Sept. 12 that he is asking the state’s highest court to find Indiana’s right-to-work law constitutional.
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Supreme Court takes eminent domain case to clean up confusion

September 12, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Confusion from “inartful language” will put the ongoing dispute over the Clark County airport expansion before the Indiana Supreme Court.
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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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Expungement forum postponed

September 12, 2013
A second expungement law forum, scheduled for Sept. 17, has been postponed.
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Man who bilked banks of $10 million sentenced

September 12, 2013
Dave Stafford

A southern Indiana man who defrauded Indiana banks of more than $10 million by supplying bogus financial information from family members to obtain multi-million-dollar loans for real estate, an airplane and a yacht will spend five years in federal prison.

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CASA conference to train, honor volunteers

September 12, 2013
IL Staff

A single mother of two from Monroe County will receive the honor of volunteer of the year this weekend at an annual conference of court-appointed special advocates.

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Marsh Supermarkets, former CEO spar over attorney fees

September 12, 2013
Scott Olson
The years-long legal spat between Don Marsh and the company he once led appeared to have concluded this summer, but has now turned to attorneys’ fees and who’s paying the million-dollar bills.
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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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Judge reverses ATM fee class decertification; suggests any award go to charity

September 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals court didn’t exactly call an Indiana appeal a small-change case, but it suggested the few dollars each member of a class might receive could be more usefully given to charity.
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Embattled judge responds to suspension bid: ‘can and will learn’ from mistakes

September 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior judge facing a 45-count disciplinary complaint responded today to a petition for her suspension by saying, “She is resolute that she can and will learn from what has been alleged, and that she will redouble her efforts to proceed.”
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Justices weigh $2.7 billion Rockport deal

September 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A controversial, politically charged power plant proposal voided by an appellate court and later waylaid by the General Assembly and Gov. Mike Pence landed before the Indiana Supreme Court Sept. 5. Attorneys for and against the proposed plant pleaded that terms of the contract were on their side.
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Deadline looms for Indy judge

September 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown faces suspension resulting from 45 counts including accusations of wrongful jailings and misconduct.
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  2. 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.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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