Legal News

COA tosses treble damages since access was not denied

April 21, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A feuding neighbor who twice entered the property next to hers to unplug a sump pump will not have to pay treble damages because the Indiana Court of Appeals found she did not commit criminal trespass.
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Appeals court affirms judgment for Valpo frat in student fight

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
A fraternity fight between two Valparaiso University students who had clashed before is not grounds to hold the local or national fraternities responsible for one of the student’s injuries.
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Possession of precursors ruled lesser-included offense of greater crime

April 21, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who fled his car and left a “Nazi method” methamphetamine lab behind for police to find was able to get part of his conviction overturned because officers did not find any of the actual illegal drug.
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City will push criminal justice center proposal at next council meeting

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
The proposed Indianapolis criminal justice center plan was not placed on the agenda of Monday’s City-County Council meeting, but Mayor Greg Ballard will seek to gather votes to pass the divisive 35-year private-public partnership next month. Ballard’s statement drew a rebuke from council chairwoman Maggie A. Lewis.
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Disbarment order details lawyer’s profane, intimidating rants

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
Suspended Fort Wayne attorney R. Mark Keaton for years left profanity-laced voicemails and emails that threatened and harassed his daughter’s college roommate with whom he had developed an intimate relationship a decade ago. He was disbarred Tuesday.
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7th Circuit affirms sentence, vacates release conditions

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Gary felon who tried to force a woman at gunpoint to have sex with him was not improperly sentenced to a federal term of 92 months in prison on top of his state court conviction for pointing a weapon, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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SCOTUS: Energy companies must face price-fixing claims

April 21, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States says a group of energy companies can be sued under state antitrust laws for illegally manipulating natural gas prices more than a decade ago during California’s energy crisis.
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Senate deal may yield attorney general vote

April 21, 2015
 Associated Press
U.S. Senate leaders announced a deal Tuesday to move forward on a stalled human trafficking bill, clearing the way for a vote on President Barack Obama's attorney general nominee within days.
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Tax Court panel to review resources, performance

April 21, 2015
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court Monday announced the establishment of a task force to review the Tax Court’s operations.
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Judge delays decision on NCAA concussion settlement

April 20, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A U.S. judge has declined to immediately approve the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s $75 million settlement of a lawsuit by college athletes who’ve suffered head injuries, giving a critic of the accord three weeks to file arguments opposing the revamped deal.
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Justices add 2 foreclosure cases to docket

April 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A challenge to a foreclosure judgment against a bank that was reinstated by a divided Court of Appeals panel will be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court. Justices granted transfer in two mortgage foreclosure cases last week.
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Judge: Notre Dame police aren't subject to open records law

April 20, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge in South Bend has ruled the University of Notre Dame’s police department isn't subject to Indiana’s open records laws, saying that is how the law has been understood for years and it would not be appropriate for the court to rewrite the statute.
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High court rejects terror victims’ claims against Chiquita

April 20, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected an appeal from relatives of thousands of victims of a guerrilla conflict in Colombia who want to sue Chiquita Brand International in U.S. courts.
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Racial retaliation claim against mover proceeds to trial

April 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A moving company that allegedly permitted an environment of open racial hostility toward two African-American employees must face a jury on a complaint alleging discriminatory retaliation, a federal judge has ruled.
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Landscaper’s attorney fails to explain fee

April 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A landscaping company’s award for attorney fees has been sent back to small claims court for reconsideration after the business and the attorney failed to submit documentation supporting the fee amount.
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Judgment for Planned Parenthood stands, but not for minor’s ID provider

April 17, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman who gave her son’s 17-year-old girlfriend another person's ID and posed as her mother to help her obtain an abortion was not properly dismissed from a lawsuit brought by the pregnant girl’s mother, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana was proper, the court held.
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Lawsuit claims IU Health, midwifery practice risked lives

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal whistleblower lawsuit says IU Health and midwifery practice HealthNet defrauded the government of millions of dollars and put low-income pregnant women at risk.
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Death penalty sought in suspected serial killings

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
Prosecutors in Crown Point are seeking the death penalty against a Gary man charged in the slayings of two women and suspected in the deaths of five others.
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Hope town marshal to spend 2 weeks in jail

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
A southern Indiana town marshal will spend two weeks in jail after a jury in Columbus convicted him of felony misconduct and misdemeanor false informing.
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IU McKinney hosts summer program for undergrads to explore legal careers

April 16, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law is looking for current college students who have an interest in pursuing a legal career for its 2015 Summer Law and Leadership Academy.
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Chief Justice John Roberts not picked for jury duty

April 16, 2015
 Bloomberg News
It doesn't matter how high up you are: You'll still get called for jury duty.
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Court skeptical of challenge to Obama's climate change plan

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Two out of three judges on a federal appeals court panel are expressing doubts about a legal challenge to the Obama administration's far-reaching plan to address climate change.
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Court must consider man’s self-defense claim at new bail hearing

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant accused of murder must be allowed to present evidence and witnesses at a bail hearing in an endeavor to rebut the state's burden that the defendant likely committed murder, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. Since that did not happen in James Satterfield's case, the judges remanded the matter for further proceedings.
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Judges order home invasion sentence lowered

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that a defendant who broke in to an elderly couple's home and beat the husband would have received a lesser sentence if he had actually killed the victim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered Jeffrey Hunt's 120-year sentence revised.
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Judge lets amputee's lawsuit against Indiana sheriff continue

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has greenlighted a federal lawsuit brought against a central Indiana jail by an amputee who fell from an upper bunk and was injured when he damaged his prosthetic leg.
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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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