Legal News

Fort Wayne businessman’s statements not defamatory per se

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne who filed lawsuits after he was required to retire at the age of 65 could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that statements in a private letter about him constituted defamation per se.
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Same-sex couples ask for summary judgment in birth certificate complaint

December 7, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Eight lesbian couples who sued the state for not putting both parents' names on their children’s birth certificates have filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the federal court to prohibit the state from denying the presumption of parenthood to female spouses of women who are artificially inseminated.
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Court erred in dividing husband’s accounts

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a man that a dissolution court’s valuation and division of his pension and deferred tax savings plan was incorrectly calculated, but rejected his other claims stemming from his divorce.
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COA upholds vehicle search despite noncompliance with protocol

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Even though two Indianapolis police officers did not follow the department’s general order on towing and impounding vehicles after a traffic stop, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s drug convictions.
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7th Circuit reverses benefits denial; judge chastises process

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner had harsh words for the Social Security Disability Office regarding vocational expert testimony: clean up your act.
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Attorney to seek venue change in southern Indiana crash

December 7, 2015
 Associated Press
A southern Indiana judge is scheduled to hear arguments next month on whether the trial of a man accused of driving while intoxicated in a deadly crash should be moved to another county because of media attention.
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DNA evidence properly excluded in rape trial

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in not allowing evidence in a rape trial that DNA of an unknown male was collected from the victim two days after the incident, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Woman breached settlement in trail construction dispute

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that a Yorktown resident breached the terms of a settlement she reached with the town over easements to construct storm sewers and a residential trail when she declined to donate the easement for the trail unless other conditions were met.
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Erroneous jury instruction leads to DWI conviction reversal

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A jury instruction given at a man’s drunken-driving trial resulted in fundamental error because it contained a constitutionally impermissible evidentiary presumption, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. As such, the court reversed the man’s conviction.
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COA: property conveyed with a restrictive covenant

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday had to determine whether the conveyance of a school for park and recreational use was done so by a restrictive covenant or a fee simple with condition subsequent.
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Judge: Tax board correctly reduced shopping center’s assessment

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err when it reduced the real property assessment of an Indianapolis shopping center by reinstating the previous year’s assessment, the Indiana Tax Court held Thursday.
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City workers lose challenge to law, must quit to take office

December 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
Five Lake County civil servants lost their lawsuit challenging a state law that forbids them from serving in elected office in the same city that employs them.
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District will comply with court order on Christmas show

December 4, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana school district banned by a federal judge from including a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show says the show will go on without it.
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Justices to decide dealership relocation dispute

December 3, 2015
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is going to decide whether a Toyota dealership can relocate from Anderson to Fishers over the objections of three existing greater Indianapolis Toyota dealers.
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Comment sought on reappointment of magistrate

December 3, 2015
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wants to know whether a magistrate judge should be reappointed to a new eight-year term.
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COA affirms dismissal of will contest

December 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a man’s will contest action involving his siblings, but for a different reason than the trial court.
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Oscar Pistorius conviction: Explaining the law behind it

December 3, 2015
 Associated Press
The heart of the murder case against Oscar Pistorius has relied on a section of South African criminal law known by the Latin term of dolus eventualis. The Supreme Court of Appeal decided Thursday that a lower court's reading of that was faulty and overturned its manslaughter conviction against the athlete, convicting him of murder.
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Target settles with banks over 2013 breach for $39M

December 3, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Target Corp. will pay about $39 million to banks and credit unions to resolve losses from a 2013 holiday- season data breach, as retailers and financial institutions continue to grapple with the costs of major hacker attacks.
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Forget the lawyers: Here’s what will decide the Volkswagen suits

December 3, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Since the day it came out that Volkswagen AG cheated diesel-emissions tests, U.S. consumers have been suing and lawyers have been wrangling over where the cases will be heard. But for the cars’ owners and Volkswagen, that fight – the centerpiece of a hearing Thursday in New Orleans –doesn’t matter so much because the legal case is actually quite simple.
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‘Elkhart Four’ ruling stands

December 2, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied the state’s petition for a rehearing in the "Elkhart Four" felony murder case.
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Insurance agents denied summary judgment in lawsuit filed after fire

December 2, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s lawsuit will continue against an insurance agent and his agency after they insured his rental property but then denied coverage after a fire, alleging the man misrepresented the property’s condition.
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Judge wants harsher sentence for attack on ex-fiancee

December 2, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed there were no double jeopardy violations following a man’s open plea agreement to strangling, confining and battering his ex-fiancee, but one judge believed the man deserved more time in the Department of Correction based on the seriousness of the incident.
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150 businesses in group pushing for Indiana LGBT protections

December 2, 2015
 Associated Press
A large coalition of Indiana businesses is calling on Republican Gov. Mike Pence and the GOP-controlled Legislature to put LGBT civil rights protections into state law.
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Judge grants preliminary injunction banning Nativity scene

December 2, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction banning a northern Indiana school district from including a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show.
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Monarch keeps up fight to overturn state alcohol sales law

December 2, 2015
 Associated Press
The largest beer and wine wholesaler in Indiana is asking a state appeals court to find a law unconstitutional that prohibits beer wholesalers from seeking a permit to also distribute liquor.
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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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