Opinions Oct. 9, 2015

October 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals Allen Gray Limited Partnership IV v. Bishop Mumford, Christopher Mumford, Elizabeth B. Mumford, Richardson S. Mumford, Thomas F. Mumford, Jr., and William M. Mumford
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment for the Mumford family. The trial court correctly determined the reservation applied to the surface area of the “drilling unit” and did not restrict the Mumfords from making the reserved wells deeper.

Opinions Oct. 8, 2015

October 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert E. Quinn v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of child molesting and criminal confinement, both Class B felonies. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, the state’s employees acted reasonably in the manner in which they maintained, discovered and tested DNA evidence that led to Quinn’s convictions, thereby establishing the due diligence requirement of I.C. 35-41-4-2(b).

Opinions Oct. 7, 2015

October 7, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tom Allen Manuel v. J.A. Terris
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms denial of petition for habeas corpus, directed at the prison warden, for a reduction of Manuel’s prison sentence. The period that Manuel wants credited against his federal sentence had already been credited toward his state sentence.

Opinions Oct. 6, 2015

October 6, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bryana Bible, Individually and on Behalf of the Proposed Class v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Civil. Denies petition for rehearing en banc of the panel decision. The panel reversed and remanded the District Court’s dismissal of Bible’s complaint against a creditor in a student loan default case. None of the panelists who wrote three separate opinions, nor other Circuit judges, favored rehearing en banc. Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote a concurrence to underscore that deference to federal agency positions affirmed in Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), has been assailed by recent Supreme Court rulings suggesting that decision “may not be long for this world.”

Opinions Oct. 5, 2015

October 5, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ronald C. Weyland v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Judges L. Mark Bailey and Michael Barnes grant rehearing and remand to the trial court to resentence Weyland. Judge Patricia Riley votes to deny the petition for rehearing.

Opinions Oct. 2, 2015

October 2, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Courtney R. Robbins v. The Trustees of Indiana University and Clarian Health Partners, Inc.
Civil tort. Affirms summary judge in favor of the Trustees of Indiana University and Clarian Health Partners Inc. This suit was filed after Tiffaney DeBow, a licensed practical nurse, accessed Robbins’ medical files and posted them on the Internet. The COA ruled Clarian is not vicariously liable for DeBow’s actions because she was not directly employed by Clarian. Similarly finds IU is not subject to vicarious liability because DeBow was acting outside the scope of her employment. Holds IU is not guilty of negligent hiring. Judge Terry Crone concurs in part and concurs in result in part. He urges the Indiana Supreme Court to revisit invasion of privacy precedent in light of today’s rapidly changing technology. 


Opinions Oct. 1, 2015

October 1, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Lee DeGroot v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony voluntary manslaughter.

Opinions Sept. 30, 2015

September 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Matter of the Petition to Expunge Conviction Records of James D. Borel v. State of Indiana
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of Borel’s motion to correct error as the denial was against logic, facts and circumstances presented. There is insufficient evidence that he still owed $37 in court costs stemming from a 1976 case.

Opinions Sept. 29, 2015

September 29, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Defender Security Company v. First Mercury Insurance Company
U.S. District court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms First Mercury Insurance Co.’s motion to dismiss Defender Security Co.’s lawsuit alleging breach of contract and bad faith, which sought a declaratory judgment that First Mercury owed it a duty to defend. Based on Indiana’s definition of “publication” in the defamation context, the term “publication” in the insurance policy was not susceptible to Defender’s interpretation that its recording and storing of customers’ information constitutes “publication” so as to trigger defense by First Mercury in a lawsuit.

Opinions Sept. 28, 2015

September 28, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael R. Pike, and Chassidy L. Pike v. Conestoga Title Insurance Co.
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Conestoga Title Insurance Co. The Pikes failed to promptly notify Conestoga about legal notices that their property was being placed in a tax sale.

Opinions Sept. 25, 2015

September 25, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.L. v. M.F. and M.Fu. (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Reverses child support order entered upon M.L.’s petition for child support modification.

Opinions Sept. 24, 2015

September 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
William Clyde Gibson III v. State of Indiana
Death penalty. Affirms the imposing of the death penalty following Gibson’s conviction for murder. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate “in light of the horrific manner in which Gibson took (his victim’s) life and his lack of redeeming character traits.” In regards to the jury, rules the trial court did not err in refusing to dismiss the entire venire panel and did not abuse its discretion in denying Gibson’s request to ask a case-specific question during voir dire, his for-cause juror challenges and his request to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. Holds the trial court also did not abuse its discretion in denying Gibson’s request for a fourth continuance.

Opinions Sept. 23, 2015

September 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: B.H. and S.H., and B.H. and M.B. v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying mother’s last-minute motions to continue termination hearings. There is no reason to conclude mother did not receive a fair hearing. The juvenile court did not err by finding that the termination of the relationship with mother and father is in the best interests of the children. The fact of father’s incarceration is not the sole evidence supporting termination.

Opinions Sept. 22, 2015

September 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kile Richard Stockert v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Department of Correction designation that Stockert is a sexually violent predator and offender against children. Based on the record and Ind. Code § 35-38-1-7.5(b) and § 11-8-8-19(b), the trial court did not err in denying Stockert’s petition for declaratory judgment.

Opinions Sept. 21, 2015

September 21, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Ray Clifton v. Ruby McCammack

Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of motorist Ruby McCammack in a negligent infliction of emotional distress lawsuit filed by Ray Clifton, the father of a moped driver struck and killed in a crash. Clifton may not recover under the bystander rule because he does not meet the three circumstantial factors -- that the scene viewed was essentially as it was at the time of the incident, that the victim was in essentially the same condition as immediately following the incident, and that the claimant was not informed of the incident before coming upon the scene.

Opinions Sept. 18, 2015

September 18, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Blake Layman & Levi Sparks v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Vacates conviction of murder and remands for entry of conviction of Class B felony burglary and for Layman and Sparks to be resentenced accordingly. Members of the “Elkhart 4,” Layman and Sparks were convicted of murder in the death of Danzele Johnson, who was shot by a homeowner whose house the suspects burglarized. There was simply nothing about the Appellants’ conduct or the conduct of their cohorts that was ‘clearly the mediate or immediate cause’ of their friend’s death, the court held.

Opinions Sept. 17, 2015

September 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tywaun Carter v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Carter’s conviction of two counts of Level 1 felony rape and 32-year sentence on each count to be served concurrently in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the victim’s work as a prostitute did not render her testimony and statements unbelievable, incredible or improbable. Rules the fact that the victim had been engaging in prostitution does not excuse Carter’s violent behavior or make his sentence inappropriate.  

Opinions Sept. 16, 2015

September 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals


R.L. Turner Corporation v. William Wressell
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s inclusion of fringe benefits in the calculation of total compensation and the calculation of attorney fees. Finds the trial court did not include any of Wressell’s overtime in its calculation of total compensation. Remands with instructions for the trial court to award Wressell an additional $1501.68.   


Opinions Sept. 15, 2015

September 15, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hoker Trucking, LLC and Linda L. Phillips v. Pamela K. Robbins, as Administratrix of the Estate of Mike Douglas Robbins Deceased
Civil tort. Reverses award of attorney fees and prejudgment interest to Pamela Robbins. Finds as the surviving spouse, Robbins is not entitled to recover attorney costs under the adult provision (Indiana Code 34-23-1-2) in the Indiana general wrongful death statute.

Opinions Sept. 14, 2015

September 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan E. Mitten v. Cynthia L. Mitten
Domestic. Affirms determination of Bryan E. Mitten’s child support obligations and division of the parties’ debts. The trial court ordered that the adoptive father pay $235 per week in child support retroactive to the filing of the divorce petition. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining support, and there was no error in the trial court’s division of debt.

Opinions Sept. 11, 2015

September 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Blackford v. Boone County Area Plan Commission and Boone County Drainage Board
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of Blackford’s oral request for a continuance made on the day of trial. Finds Blackford did not articulate any good cause for a continuance or show that he would be prejudiced.

Opinions Sept. 10, 2015

September 10, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Dennis Boyer and Richard Smith v. Ernest Smith, Suzanne Cassidy, Esq., and In-Plas, Inc.
Civil tort. Affirms trial court ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Cassidy, an attorney licensed in Kentucky. Rules Cassidy’s contacts with Indiana were products of her relationship with the plaintiffs and her client.

Opinions Sept. 9, 2015

September 9, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
United States of America v. Eugene Clarke
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Rudy Lozano
Criminal. Affirms conviction for seven counts of filing a false claim with the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. 287. Rules the government did not have to prove Clarke willfully submitted false claims. Finds Clarke’s “patently false and utterly groundless” tax returns provided sufficient evidence that he knew he was filing claims with false information. Concludes the District Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give Clarke’s good faith instruction to the jury.

Opinions Sept. 8, 2015

September 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Deonte R. Hester v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms 30-year aggregate sentence and convictions of Class A felony possession of cocaine, Class C felony operating a vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life and Class A misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and possession of marijuana.

Opinions Sept. 4, 2015

September 4, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Grace Schools, et al., and Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al.
Appeals from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
Judge Jon De Guilio
Civil. Reverses preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, preventing the federal government from enforcing the “contraceptive mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, extends the injunction for 60 days to allow the District Court the time to address additional arguments made by the parties. Finds the accommodation does not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Judge Daniel Manion dissents, arguing nonprofits have shown accommodation violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.