Legal News

Family did not follow statutory remedies before suing bank

December 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A federal court properly dismissed a family’s lawsuit against an Indiana bank and employee alleging they breached a fiduciary duty to a veteran in managing his benefits, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Monday. The family is required to seek review of the fiduciary appointment as outlined under statute.
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7th Circuit upholds bank robbery conviction despite errors

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although a federal court in Indianapolis committed some errors in admitting certain evidence at a man’s bank robbery trial, those errors were harmless based on DNA evidence and the defendant matching the robber’s description, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Tax Court invalidates contract distinction in administrative regulations

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In ruling for a national home improvement chain on whether it had to collect sales tax from customers who used its contractor services, the Indiana Tax Court invalidated a distinction contained in Department of Revenue administrative regulations regarding the type of contract a contractor uses.
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COA affirms 100-year sentence for 2 murders

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man with a history of mental illness was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his 100-year sentence for his role in the murder of two market employees in Elkhart is inappropriate.
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COA cuts down man’s claims grass ordinance unconstitutional

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Bloomington man who opposes treating or cutting his lawn for environmental reasons could not convince the Court of Appeals that a city ordinance is unconstitutional or void for vagueness.
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Marion County sheriff sued for illegal detentions

December 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit from defendants who were jailed in some cases for days after being found not guilty, posting bond or being ordered released by a judge.
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Jury awards Indiana teacher nearly $2M in firing over IVF

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A federal jury awarded a former teacher nearly $2 million Friday after finding that a northern Indiana Roman Catholic diocese discriminated against her by firing her after church officials learned she was trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
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Gov. Pence hasn't issued single pardon in 2 years

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence, who has said he wants Indiana to be a leader in giving criminals who've served their time a second chance, hasn't granted a single pardon during his first two years in office.
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Disputed Nativity scene will stay up until Dec. 26

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
A county in southeastern Indiana reached an agreement Friday with a group suing to force the removal of a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn that will allow the decades-old display to remain in place through Christmas.
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Sugarland, promoter settle with state fair victims

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
Country duo Sugarland, concert promoter Live Nation and 16 other defendants have agreed to pay $39 million to settle claims stemming from the deadly 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse, lawyers for the victims and their families announced Friday.
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T-Mobile settles ‘mobile cramming’ suit

December 19, 2014
IL Staff
For the second time in three months, Hoosiers who have a mobile phone may be eligible for a refund after T-Mobile USA Inc. settled a national lawsuit over “cramming” practices.
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Judges reverse 2 convictions based on double jeopardy violations

December 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the state relied on the same evidence to convict a man of three charges after he fired a gun at police while fleeing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered one of those convictions vacated and the other reduced.
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COA finds woman owes friend $800 more for unauthorized use of his money

December 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a woman improperly spent her friend’s money on repairs to a property he conveyed to her but found the trial court miscalculated how much she owes.
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Woman committed UPL, forgery in divorce filing

December 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion County woman who forged a name and attorney number on a divorce filing had her criminal convictions upheld Friday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The woman gave false attorney information because she didn’t want the litigant to have to watch a video about filing pro se.
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Fired IDEM employee entitled to unemployment benefits

December 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a 25-year state employee did not breach a duty reasonably owed to her employer when she failed to meet monthly quotas because she thoroughly reviewed cases instead of quickly approving expenses.
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Justices suspend Muncie City Court judge

December 19, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Thursday suspending Dianna L. Bennington, the Muncie City Court judge who faces 13 counts of misconduct.
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Judge delays hearing on Indiana Nativity scene

December 19, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal judge has delayed a hearing on a bid to remove a Nativity scene that's been erected each winter for more than a half-century on a southeastern Indiana county's courthouse lawn.
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COA: Terminating guardianship is in child’s best interest

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a contentious guardianship case involving a child’s father and her former stepgrandmother, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the guardianship should be dissolved and the father should have custody of the child.
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COA affirms convictions despite erroneously admitted testimony

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a man’s convictions, including forgery and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, after finding the errors by the trial court in admitting certain testimony were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Grandparents lose second challenge of parental custody

December 18, 2014
Dave Stafford
Grandparents who largely were the sole caregivers of a child until about age 3 lost a second custody challenge and bid to regain visitation with the child.
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Whistleblower’s claim ‘sufficiently specific’ to continue with lawsuit

December 18, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who claims she was fired after she blew the whistle about alleged accounting violations by her boss can move forward with her lawsuit against her former employer.
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New trial ordered after expert testimony improperly excluded

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A couple who brought a products liability claim against a ladder manufacturer and the store that sold the ladder are entitled to a new trial after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the magistrate judge should not have struck their expert witness’s testimony. The couple lost their case as a result of the judge’s decision.
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COA affirms East Chicago judge’s request for more money

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An East Chicago City Court judge carried her burden to establish that the $65,000 in requested funds were reasonably necessary, the Court of Appeals held Thursday in affirming the grant of her mandate request. The appellate judges also decided the city court is entitled to appellate fees and expenses.
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Public intoxication statute constitutional, but ‘annoying’ man’s conviction vacated

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court vacated a man’s public intoxication conviction after finding his agitation does not rise to the level that would annoy a reasonable person. But the justices did find that the statute is not unconstitutionally vague.
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Conour victim settles suit naming Doehrman

December 18, 2014
Dave Stafford
Victims of convicted fraudster and former attorney William Conour have settled a lawsuit that named a one-time Conour associate as a defendant.
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  1. 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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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