Indiana Court of Appeals

Court erred in affirming decision new seawall must be removed

December 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the portion of a trial court’s order that affirmed the decision by a board of zoning appeals denying a company’s request for a variance which allowed its newly completed seawall to remain intact. The judges found Caddyshack Looper LLC demonstrated that strict application of the setback requirement will result in practical difficulties.
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COA orders man’s birth certificate change to reflect gender

December 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The birth certificate of a person who was born a woman but now identifies as a man and has undergone extensive medical treatment for gender transition should be changed to show he is male, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Questions exist as to whether teen furnished alcohol to other teens

December 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a Pittsboro man in a lawsuit alleging he was liable for the death of friend because he furnished alcohol at a party. The friend died in a car accident while riding with another teen who had consumed alcohol at the party.
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No advice from counsel leads to post-conviction relief

December 2, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A mother’s refusal to convey her son’s threats of harm possibly saved the man from violating Indiana’s intimidation statute.
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Divided panel reverses default judgment against bank

December 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
The bank that promises customers 24-hour grace overdraft protection received more than 20 days grace in an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday.
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Fired nurse’s retaliation claim reinstated

December 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A nurse fired from a St. Joseph County clinic that treated patients with sexually transmitted diseases may go forward with a lawsuit claiming her termination was in retaliation for expressing concern that treating undiagnosed patients went beyond her scope of practice.
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Statements by insurance provider do not constitute defamation, COA rules

December 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A surgery center’s defamation claim that an insurance provider was making false statements purposefully to harm the center’s business reputation was dismissed because the communication did not allege any misconduct in business practices or trade. 
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Enhancement to sentence upheld by COA

November 26, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding Indiana’s criminal gang enhancement statute can be understood by individuals of ordinary intelligence, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s challenge to his 175-year aggregate sentence.
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Allegation of conspiracy not enough to support civil conspiracy claim

November 26, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A parts supplier failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that a civil conspiracy claim against several co-defendants named in a breach of contract dispute can stand without showing every alleged conspirator committed an underlying unlawful act.
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Appeals panel offers direction to abusive pro se litigant

November 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals has heard about enough from pro se litigant Eddie G. Love.
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Man convicted of brutal beating loses appeal despite errors

November 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who was convicted of the brutal beating of his stepfather lost an appeal Wednesday that argued his 2008 traumatic brain injury, prosecutorial misconduct and other factors should have reversed or mitigated his 20-year sentence.
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COA reverses custody evaluation granted to grandparents

November 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court that expressed in the record reservations about the legal status of granting a visitation evaluation sought by grandparents of children in the care or another grandparent had those doubts confirmed Wednesday when the Court of Appeals reversed.
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Perjury voids conviction; COA refers prosecutor for discipline

November 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A St. Joseph County man’s burglary conviction was reversed Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The state’s knowing use of perjured testimony to obtain the conviction led the panel to refer the case for possible disciplinary action against a prosecutor.
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Evidence does not support grandparent visitation order, COA rules

November 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the evidence did not support the trial court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals tossed a visitation order in favor of the maternal grandparents.
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COA revises neglect of dependent conviction stemming from boy’s death

November 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s murder conviction following the death of his girlfriend’s son after he seriously injured the boy while punishing him. But the court reversed his Class B felony neglect of a dependent conviction based on double jeopardy concerns.
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Felony enhancement reversed because woman did not directly cause officer’s injury

November 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday reached a conclusion opposite from one reached by a previous panel of the court when the judges held a woman who was resisting arrest did not cause the officer’s injuries. The officer hurt his hand when he fell forcing the defendant to the ground.
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COA: Man entitled to have attorney present at small claim hearing

November 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a businessman who was confused as to whether he needed his attorney to appear in a small claims case was denied the basic right of representation, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of his motion for a continuance.
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Judges reverse probation revocation due to inadmissible evidence

November 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man’s probation was revoked based on unsubstantiated evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the revocation Friday.
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Judges: Cop shouldn’t have asked driver for license

November 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s motion to suppress evidence collected during an investigatory traffic stop. The judges held that once the police officer knew the owner of the vehicle – who had a suspended license – was not driving, the investigation should have ended.
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Judges reverse drug charges based on constitutional violation

November 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed drug charges against two Bloomington men after finding the police detective’s actions unreasonable. The detectives entered the men’s property while looking for another person despite clear signs of "no trespassing."
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Split COA orders trial for woman injured measuring countertop

November 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday concluded summary judgment was not proper for a home improvement business on a woman’s negligence claim. The customer was injured when a granite countertop propped up outside of the business fell on her foot while she was measuring it.
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Failure to object to judge in termination case waives argument on appeal

November 18, 2014
Dave Stafford
A father whose parental rights were terminated by the same judge who presided when he was convicted of child molesting and neglect raised the issue on appeal for the first time, therefore waiving the objection, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Delay of protection order hearing called ‘disturbing’

November 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals called a trial court’s delay in setting a hearing on a petition for a permanent protection order “disturbing” and found the lower court’s denial of the order did not comply with the state’s trial rules.
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Language of trust overrides statutes, COA rules

November 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A man’s promise to sue his brother and deplete their father’s trust of its assets resulted in him being ordered to pay $13,166 in attorney fees to the trust.
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Denomination loses appeal in favor of breakaway church

November 17, 2014
Dave Stafford
A church denomination failed to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that it was entitled to the property of a congregation that broke away.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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