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Court overturns breach-of-contract ruling

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Marion Superior Court decision granting partial summary judgment in favor of the defendant on an issue of breach of contract, ruling a state agency couldn't approve a cleanup that didn't comply to federal standards. In Indiana Department of Environmental Management v. Raybestos Products Co., No. 49A02-0609-CV-782, IDEM appealed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to Raybestos on the issue of a breeched agreed order and a judgment of more than $16 million...
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Court grants visitation for partner in guardianship case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
When Patrick Atkins suffered a brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke on a business trip in 2005, his partner of almost 30 years wanted to be there and visit.While Atkins' family didn't approve of the relationship, Brett Conrad was allowed to visit and have contact with his partner at first. But the family began cutting off that contact and eventually the two sides went to court over visitation rights and guardianship. Conrad lost in Hamilton Superior Court before Judge Steven Nation, who...
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Former Allen County prosecutor dies

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Glen J. Beams, a former Allen County prosecutor and respected attorney in Fort Wayne, died Saturday.Beams, 92, died of lymphoma at his home on Lake Wawasee in Kosciusko County. He had earned his law degree in 1939 from the Indiana School of Law and served as a partner in the Helmke Beams Law Firm from 1946 until his death. The northern Indiana community remembers him for winning the 1954 election race for county prosecutor, where he served one term before losing...
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Indiana Supreme Court won't review football death case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will not review a Marion County case involving a 17-year-old ;s death following football practice in July 2001.Justices denied transfer Thursday in Stowers v. Clinton Central, declining to vacate the Oct. 26 Court of Appeals decision that the school corporation, coaches, and athletic director were not negligent in the teenager ;s death. However, the ruling also stands that Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller erred by not including a jury instruction to describe the scope of school release...
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Federal judge lifts Marion County jail oversight

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis has ended a 35-year federal oversight period of the Marion County jail that resulted from a lawsuit by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1972.Judge Barker's June 8 order released Monday noted that jail and lockup expansions, court-ordered inmate releases, and the creation of a night court late last year show that legal requirements have been met and judicial supervision of the litigation is no longer needed. Dissolving the consent decree is "fair,...
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Supreme Court will hear 5 arguments this week

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A mobile home demolished more than a year ago is the subject of one of several oral arguments the Indiana Supreme Court will hear this week.Justices will hear three cases Tuesday, and two more are scheduled for Thursday, but the court has granted transfer in only two of those cases so far.The mobile home-related argument tomorrow is in Ernestine Waldon v. Donna Wilkins, 18A04-0604-CV-199, which comes out of Delaware County. After deciding a mobile home was unfit to live in, the...
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Court rules on discovery of trade secrets

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A tire making formula is considered a trade secret and doesn't have to be disclosed in discovery, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The unanimous 11-page ruling comes in a much-anticipated first impression case of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. v. Violet Mayberry, et al., No. 48A02-0504-CV-368, which stemmed from a fatal August 2001 accident in which a woman lost control of her vehicle on Interstate 69 after one of the tires came apart. Her family sued the tire maker; during discovery they asked for...
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Supreme Court operations find new space

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has reached an agreement to move some of its operations from the National City Center downtown to a property formerly occupied by Eli Lilly.The new, 10-year agreement is estimated to save taxpayers about $1 million over the course of the lease, and takes effect at the end of the year, said Justice Theodore Boehm, who has led the negotiations process for the state court.This agreement means divisions of the Supreme Court, such as the Indiana Judicial Center,...
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Sentence in murder-for-hire plot cut

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has slashed a sentence for an Anderson man convicted last year in a murder-for-hire plot of his wife and mother-in-law.Justices unanimously granted transfer and issued a five-page opinion Wednesday afternoon in Aaron Reid v. State of Indiana, 48S04-0711-CR-552, a case from Madison County that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a not-for-publication opinion in May. Last year, Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman gave Reid a maximum 50-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The case...
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Court affirms worker's comp dismissal

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a Full Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana decision to dismiss a claim against a former employer, citing statutory conditions have been met to release the employer from any liability. In William Pete Casper v. L.E. Isley & Sons, Inc., No. 93A02-0702-EX-179, Casper's wife, Janet, on behalf of William's estate, appealed the dismissal of the estate's claim against L.E. Isley for worker's compensation. Janet Casper argued the dismissal was premature. William Casper worked for Isley for more...
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Notre Dame 1L finishes 31st in Boston Marathon

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Dan McGrath, a 1L at Notre Dame Law School, finished 31st overall among all men, and was the 18th American finisher in the 111th Boston Marathon on April 16, the law school ;s Web site reported. McGrath had an official time of 2:25:59: a pace of 5 minutes, 33 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles.McGrath, 23, who listed his hometown as Lynbrook, N.Y., was the fifth overall runner who was not classed in the ‘Elite ; group. At this year ;s...
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Chief Justice speaking on judicial independence

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Judicial independence and accountability are the topics du jour for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.The state's top judge was the keynote speaker at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum this afternoon. The Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College hosted the free program, "Politics and the Courts: Judicial Independence and Accountability," at the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in Indianapolis.This topic arises as the role of courts in the U.S. has become a focus for criticism, including how the judiciary...
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Lawyer triumphs over Mattel: Indianapolis lawsuit plays part in worldwide recall of 4.4 million of Polly Pocket toys.

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indianapolis partner Gordon Tabor with the Tabor Low Group (right) describes the now-recalled Mattel toys that resulted in injury because of the one-eighth-inch diameter magnets in parts of the products (left).The toy giant recalled the product worldwide.    When attorney Gordon Tabor first took on a product liability case arising in Indianapolis, he instantly knew that it was larger than one little girl.    He consulted with his two younger brothers, Roy and Jeff – also attorneys at the Tabor Law Firm –...
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Justices to hear 2 arguments

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday will consider two cases, delving into non-compete agreements, and the legal line between parental control and child battery.Justices will first hear arguments at 9 a.m. in Central Indiana Podiatry P.C. v. Kenneth J. Krueger, Meridian Health Group P.C., 29S05-0706-CV-256, which the Court of Appeals ruled on in January. The appellate court overturned a decision by Hamilton Superior Judge Daniel Pfleging and ruled he should have made the podiatrist, Dr. Kenneth Krueger, stop working pending trial after...
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Court of Appeals revises burglary sentence

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today revised a 40-year sentence handed down to a 19-year-old, citing inconsistencies between the trial court's oral and written sentencing statements. In Nathan D. Feeney v. State of Indiana, 79A02-0609-CR-823, Feeney appealed his cumulative 40-year sentence for convictions of 10 counts of burglary as a Class B felony, which consisted of four consecutive and six concurrent 10-year sentences, because he believed the sentences to be too harsh given the nature of his offenses and his character. At...
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IPBC exec director's last day Friday

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Friday will be Monica Fennell's last day as executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission - at least until she returns next August. Fennell will be in Washington, D.C., for a one-year fellowship with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Her replacement for a one-year fellowship of her own is Trischa Zorn-Hudson.Zorn-Hudson has already been working with Fennell, and her first full day will be July 23. "I know that the Pro Bono Commission...
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Amici briefs support Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Eleven parties have submitted amici briefs in support of Indiana's voter identification law, which goes before the Supreme Court of the United States in January.Parties had a Monday deadline to submit briefs in the pair of cases Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25), which the nation's high court will hear arguments on Jan. 9. Both challenge the law that took effect July 2005 and has been upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of...
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Tax Court sets arguments next month

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court will hear arguments next month on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the state's property tax assessment system.Arguments are set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Mel Goldstein, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., 49T10-0709-TA-00045. Indianapolis attorney John Price filed the suit earlier this month on behalf of 11 residents from around the state and seven citizens' organizations pushing for tax reform. The suit includes 14 counts relating directly to Marion County...
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Court rules in favor of municipal utilities

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The state's eminent domain statute allows Indiana municipalities to acquire operations of privately owned water and sewer utilities that serve recently annexed portions of that community, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The split 3-2 decision came in Utility Center, Inc., d/b/a Aquasource v. City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 02S04-0706-CV-248.This case from Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts involves Fort Wayne's initiation of condemnation proceedings against a company operating a competing public water utility in and around the city, which also owns its...
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Commission studies mental illness, death penalty

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana could be the first state to bar the mentally ill from being executed, two recognized legal experts told a legislative commission Friday.Of course, doing so would mean first agreeing on a definition for what "mentally ill" entails.That was the topic discussed during the first legislative meeting of the Bowser Commission, the legislative interim study committee designed to study mental illness as it relates to the death penalty. The group was formed in recognition of the late Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan...
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Indiana's GAL/CASA program receives $49,000

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A national grant will help pay for an Indiana Supreme Court program serving neglected and abused children whose families are in the court system.The state's highest court announced Wednesday that the Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate (GAL/CASA) Program is receiving $49,000 from the National CASA Association.Formed in 1990, the state court's program was the first in the nation last year to be certified for meeting standards. It also offers training and support for about 65 counties across the state -...
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Misconduct not inappropriate enough to alter trial outcome

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A prosecutor ;s request to call opposing defense counsel to the stand during a Pike County trial may have been inappropriate, but the Indiana Court of Appeals has determined it didn ;t rise to the level of misconduct that would have impacted the outcome.The appellate panel issued its decision today in Joshua J. Nolan v. State, which stems from a 2005 case leading to Nolan ;s conviction for criminal deviate conduct and residential entry. He raised three issues on appeal, but...
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Domestic violence groups merging

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Starting Wednesday, two organizations designed to battle domestic violence are merging to expand their reach across Indiana.The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and the Protective Order Pro Bono Project of Greater Indianapolis are teaming up to combine resources. Aside from providing legal support for domestic violence victims, the newly merged organization will provide referrals to domestic violence service providers for people seeking protective orders. Long-time Marion County domestic violence advocate Linda Olvey Helman will oversee that segment.Kerry Hyatt Blomquist, founding...
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High court rules on estate issue

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on a matter of first impression today regarding the disposition of an entire estate during life or death. In the Matter of the Guardianship of E.N., Adult,No. 88S01-0703-CV-121, deals with the issue of whether the guardianship estate planning statute authorizes dispositions of a protected person's entire estate, not just "excess" assets, as defined in the statute. In this case, E.N. married and had two children - Shirley and Marvin. He executed a will in 1983 and...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in three cases - David Michael Green v. State of Indiana; Beth Palmer Kopczynski and Alisha Palmer v. David B. and Peggy L. Barger; and Richard U. and Delores J. Pflanz v. Merrill Foster, et al. In Green v. State, 45A05-0612-CR-708, Green appealed his conviction and sentence for two counts of felony murder, claiming his victim's death was out of self-defense and an accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed the state presented sufficient evidence to...
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