Legal News

Judges split over ruling in failed adoption case

March 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday reversed summary judgment in favor of the facilitator of an adoption on a negligence claim brought by the adoptive parents after the baby’s biological father sought and was awarded custody.
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COA voids custody order in favor of father

March 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the grant of custody in favor of an Indiana father because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to make a custody determination.
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Judges to hear misconduct case against former IURC chairman Monday

March 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday will hear arguments on whether four misconduct charges should have been dismissed against former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission chairman David Lott Hardy.
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Judges dismiss man’s appeal of protection order extension

March 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a Porter County man’s appeal of a judge’s decision to reset a hearing on a temporary protection order for six months after the victim had an anxiety attack while testifying. The judges held Douglas Allison had to seek a discretionary interlocutory appeal in the matter.
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Justices reverse denial of car dealership’s motion to set aside default judgment

March 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a car dealership and its registered agent did not receive notice of a hearing on default judgment, the judgment entered against it was void for want of jurisdiction, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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Divided court upholds principal’s conviction of failure to report child abuse

March 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Supreme Court Thursday upheld a misdemeanor failure to report child abuse conviction against former Muncie Central High School principal Christopher Smith. The dissent believed the state failed to show he had reason to believe an alleged rape was child abuse.
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Pence signs criminal code update, mental health witness bills into law

March 27, 2014
IL Staff
Gov. Mike Pence this week has signed numerous bills into law, including the legislation that reconciles conflicts between HEA 1006-2013, which reformed the state’s criminal code, and other bills touching on criminal law.
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Justices reverse termination of parental rights in 2 cases

March 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In two short, per curiam decisions, the Indiana Supreme Court found the parental rights of two Marion County parents should not have been terminated because of due process violations after the magistrate who heard their cases resigned before reporting recommended findings and conclusions.
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Judges reverse speeding infraction due to lack of proof

March 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A driver pulled over in Clark County for speeding was able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday that the infraction should be reversed because the state couldn’t prove its case.
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Court: Man never raised defense to attempted robbery

March 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday pointed out that a defendant needs to assert the defense of abandonment in some manner at trial. The judges rejected a man’s claim that the defense does not require a formal pleading or notice of the defense.
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Indiana readers to receive $2.6M from e-book antitrust case

March 26, 2014
IL Staff
Electronic book customers in Indiana will begin receiving refunds this week as a result of a settlement reached between five major U.S. publishers and 33 state attorneys general.
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IU Maurer, Rose-Hulman create IP scholars program

March 26, 2014
IL Staff
A new program established by Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology will allow select Rose-Hulman graduates to study at the IU law school at a reduced tuition rate.
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5 lawsuits keep marriage debate alive in Indiana

March 26, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The attorney general says he will defend the Indiana Defense of Marriage Act unless the Supreme Court of the United States rules otherwise.
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Innocent co-insureds looking for protection

March 26, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Advocates in Indiana fighting for “innocent co-insured” protections say they will continue to ask the Legislature to create a new law after court challenges fall short.
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Court of Appeals changes from minority to majority approach in construction contract dispute

March 26, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A fire during a renovation project that devastated a southern Indiana courthouse ignited a dispute between the county and the contractor that persuaded the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse course and adopt a new approach to interpreting construction contracts.
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Palladium construction lawsuits costing panel millions

March 26, 2014
Andrea Muirragui Davis
The cash-strapped Carmel Redevelopment Commission has spent more than $6 million since 2009 “responding to, defending and settling” legal claims from contractors involved in construction of the city’s Palladium concert hall, according to filings in Hamilton Superior Court – and the meter is still running.
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General Assembly, Supreme Court ponder big changes for small claims

March 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A national nonprofit organization has been tasked with a fresh study of Marion County’s troubled township small claims court system, while a bill that passed the General Assembly has implications for small claims courts around the state.
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Clark County drug court gets conditional approval

March 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
Clark County Drug Treatment Court participants will continue with programs diverting their criminal cases in favor of treatment, but it’s uncertain whether the troubled program may ever again serve people arrested on nonviolent drug charges.
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Two traffic stops and two motions to suppress result in two different rulings

March 25, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A pair of opinions from the Indiana Supreme Court examines two Terry stops made by police officers and through opposite rulings emphasizes law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver.
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Indiana among 20 states joining ‘Four Loko’ settlement

March 25, 2014
IL Staff
A maker of caffeinated alcoholic beverages including such brands as “Four Loko” accused of marketing its products to promote the misuse of alcohol and appeal to underage drinkers has settled a complaint brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and joined by 19 other state attorneys general, including Indiana’s Greg Zoeller.
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Vehicle forfeiture order affirmed despite state’s yearlong delay

March 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
A convicted cocaine dealer failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that summary judgment forfeiture of his yellow 2004 Hummer was a violation of trial rules, even though the state’s motion for summary judgment was in response to a court show cause order due to case inactivity for more than a year.
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IU Maurer professor argues ACA contraception mandate benefits women’s health and economic stability

March 25, 2014
IL Staff
Another battle over the Affordable Care Act goes before the Supreme Court of the United States today as the justices hear two cases challenging the contraception coverage mandate in the health care law.
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COA voids rehabilitation maintenance ordered after divorce

March 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
An ex-wife was not entitled to rehabilitation maintenance from her former husband that was approved after the dissolution of their marriage, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Appeals court vacates lesser drug conviction as double jeopardy

March 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Paoli man convicted of multiple drug offenses had a lesser conviction vacated Tuesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The court let stand other convictions for which he was sentenced to an aggregate 16 years in prison.
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Justices take post-conviction relief case

March 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will review the reduction from a Class B felony to a Class D felony of a man’s conviction of criminal confinement.
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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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