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.

Opinions Sept. 3, 2015

September 3, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Memory Gardens Management Corporation, Inc. v. Liberty Equity Partners, LLC, and Old Bridge Funeral Home, LLC
Civil collection. Affirms grant of the Old Bridge parties’ motion for summary judgment and affirms the denial of Memory Gardens’ cross-motion for summary judgment. Remands to decide reasonable appellate attorney fees. Finds Memory Gardens’ failure to object to receiver’s final report forever bars it from claiming the $450,000 demand note. Also rules receiver abandoned Memory Gardens’ claims for the demand note.

Opinions Sept. 2, 2015

September 2, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
David Anderson, Joe Wray, John Kennard, Commissioners, and Board of Trustees, Brown County Fire Protection District v. Susanne Gaudin, Janet Kramer, and Ruth Reichmann
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment finding that a county board of commissioners lacked authority to amend an ordinance that previously established a countywide fire protection district. Majority concludes that under the Home Rule Act, boards of county commissioners are authorized to amend fire protection districts, even if an amendment dissolves the district. The opinion written by Justice Brent Dickson was joined by Justice Mark Massa and Chief Justice Loretta Rush; Justice Steven David concurred with a separate opinion. Justice Robert Rucker dissented and would affirm the trial court judgment in favor of property owners.

Opinions Sept. 1, 2015

September 1, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Neal D. Secrease Jr. v. The Western & Southern Life Insurance Co., et al.

Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District Court dismissal with prejudice of Secrease’s sex and age discrimination and retaliation complaints. While the sanction of dismissal with prejudice is severe, it is justified in this case where Secrease attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court by submitting a purported employment contract that contained an arbitration agreement that was not a provision in the contract he signed.

Opinions Aug. 31, 2015

August 31, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael A. Kelley v. Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General
Appeal from the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Theresa L. Springmann
Affirms the District Court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of Kelley’s suit alleging that under a plea deal struck in a robbery case in 1975, his conviction should have been expunged. No expungement statute existed then, and Indiana courts have determined that Kelley waited too long to challenge the 1975 robbery conviction.

Opinions Aug. 28, 2015

August 28, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana, LLC v. Indiana Family and Social Services  Administration
14-2420 & 142546
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division
Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Reverses the District Court’s order which allowed FSSA to keep the Hospital Assessment Fee it collected from St. Catherine for fiscal year 2013. Finds the 2013 HAF assessment was based on the hospital’s cost reports before it filed for bankruptcy. Concludes the claim is subject to the automatic stay.

Opinions Aug. 27, 2015

August 27, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
C.W. and E.W., by Guardians and Next Friends Adele A. Wood and Jason A. Wood v. Textron, Inc.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division
Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Textron. Finds the testimony of the three experts was properly excluded because none provided a direct link between vinyl chloride exposure and the illnesses experienced by C.W. and E.W. Disagrees with the District Court’s rationale regarding causation. Adopts 2nd Circuit approach that differential etiology is sufficient to help prove both general and specific causation.

Opinions Aug. 26, 2015

August 26, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric V. Harden v. Marion County Sheriff’s Department
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Civil. Affirms grant of summary judgment for the sheriff’s department. Finds Harden did not offer any evidence that supports his claim that he was fired in retaliation for testifying on behalf of African-American officers in a race discrimination investigation. Determines the internal affairs investigation of a theft that led to Harden’s termination was not a “sham” and a reasonable jury could find the investigation worthy of credence.

Opinions Aug. 25, 2015

August 25, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
D.S. b/n/f George M. Stahl and Debbie Lynn Stahl v. East Porter County School Corporation, et al.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the school corporation defendants, finding that in bringing a suit over alleged bullying at school, the plaintiffs did not offer sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact under the state-created danger standard.

Opinions Aug. 24, 2015

August 24, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
JMB Manufacturing Inc., d/b/a/ Summit Forest Products Co. v. Child Craft, LLC, et al
Harrison Manufacturing, LLC, f/k/a Child Craft, LLC v. Ron Bienias
Civil tort. Reverses judgment on Child Craft’s negligent misrepresentation counterclaim against Bienias and Summit. Directs the District Court to enter final judgment in favor of Bienias and Summit on that counterclaim. Affirms dismissal of Child Craft’s breach of contract against Summit and Summit’s claims against Child Craft.  

Opinions Aug. 21, 2015

August 21, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court    
In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.E., a Minor Child, and His Father, J.E., and His Mother, S.S. v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services
Juvenile. Reverses termination of parental rights of J.E. to his son, K.E. Finds although J.E. is currently incarcerated, he has taken steps to improve himself, address his drug addiction and bond with his child. Concludes the evidence is not sufficient to support the reasonable probability that the conditions that led to K.E.’s removal are unlikely to be remedied or that J.E. poses a threat to the child.

Opinions Aug. 19, 2015

August 19, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kyle D. Alaura v. Carolyn W. Colvin
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Agency action. Reverses denial of application for total disability benefits, which was premature, and remands to the District Court for further consideration of Alaura’s claim.

Opinions Aug. 18, 2015

August 18, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Carlton Hart v. Christine Mannina, et al.
Appeal from the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge William T. Lawrence
Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of Mannina, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detective, and other police defendants. Hart was arrested in a murder investigation recorded for the reality television series “The Shift,” but charges later were dismissed. He sued police and the city claiming various violations of his constitutional rights. Because police had probable cause to arrest him, summary judgment in favor of the defendants was neither an abuse of discretion nor actual and substantial prejudice.

Opinions Aug. 17, 2015

August 17, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rebecca Riker v. Bruce Lemmon, in his official capacity, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Civil. Reverses District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on Riker’s claim that she was improperly denied permission to marry a Department of Correction inmate. Riker is a former contract employee at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility who was terminated after a sexual relationship with an inmate. The District Court erred in granting summary judgment and concluding the DOC’s denial of her request for a one-time visit to participate in a marriage ceremony did not violate her constitutional right to marry.

Opinions Aug. 14, 2015

August 14, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert E. Spierer, et al. v. Corey E. Rossman, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants sued by the family of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer. Plaintiffs failed to state a plausible claim under Indiana common law for negligence.

Opinions Aug. 13, 2015

August 13, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wayne Kubsch v. Ron Neal, superintendent, Indiana State Prison
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division
Chief Judge Philip Simon
Criminal. Affirms denial of Kubsch’s habeas corpus petition. Majority rules the exclusion of testimony by neighbors which could have exonerated Kubsch was hearsay and, therefore, not admissible. In a dissent, Chief Judge Diane Wood argues the testimony should have been admitted under Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284 (1973).

Opinions Aug. 12, 2015

August 12, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Fifty Six LLC, individually and, alternatively, in the name of the State of Indiana on relation of Fifty Six LLC v. The Metropolitan Development Commission of Marion County
Civil plenary.  Reverses and remands denial of landowner Fifty Six LLC’s motion to correct error and granting of the development commission’s cross motion for summary judgment regarding the adoption of the Millersville Plan to guide development of a northeast-side Indianapolis community. Fifty Six had standing to challenge the Millersville plan and the MDC did not comply with required notice and hearing provisions before the hearing on the Millersville Plan’s adoption. Remanded for proceedings.

Opinions Aug. 11, 2015

August 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
LHO Indianapolis One Lessee, LLC v. Esther Bowman, Individually and on Behalf of Other Similarly Situated Individuals
Civil tort. Reverses the trial court’s certification of a class defined by Bowman. Finds members of the class did not meet the requirement of Indiana Trial Rule 23(B)(3) by showing their illnesses were caused by eating the same contaminated food. Remands with the options of either redefining the class under Indiana Trial Rule23(C)(4)(a) or continuing under T.R. 23(B)(3) with respect to the hotel’s general liability only. 

Opinions Aug. 10, 2015

August 10, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dennis R. Williams and Leslie Ann Williams and Indiana Dept. of Revenue and Clark County Indiana
Appeal from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division
Chief Judge Richard Young
Civil. Affirms order the property belonging to the Williamses be sold and the receipts divided among the Internal Revenue Service, the state of Indiana and Clark County. Finds the U.S. secretary of the treasury did authorize the proceedings and the attorney general did direct the action to commence. Holds the Williamses did receive notification of the amount of taxes they owed. Rules the state and county claims belong in the proceeding. Concludes the District Court’s decision is sensible and not an abuse of discretion.

Opinions Aug. 7, 2015

August 7, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday
United States of America v. Jeffrey P. Taylor
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Rudy Lozano
Criminal. Vacates sentence for Taylor convicted in 2007 of attempted transferring obscene materials to minors and remands to the District Court to remove a special condition of probation barring Taylor from viewing otherwise legal adult pornography. Taylor must make all Internet-accessible devices available for inspection without reasonable suspicion. A ban on contact with minors is overly broad. Judge David Hamilton concurred in part but dissented on lifting the pornography ban, finding no abuse of discretion. Judge Frank Easterbrook concurred separately to cite jurisdictional conflicts.

Opinions Aug. 6, 2015

August 6, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Sandra McGuire
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge James Moody
Criminal. Dismisses appeal over the denial of McGuire’s motion to withdraw a guilty plea to money laundering for depositing $2,200 in drug proceeds into her checking account. McGuire’s plea agreement included a waiver of appeal, and this applies to her motion to withdraw the plea after it was accepted but before she was sentenced.

Opinions Aug. 5, 2015

August 5, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
BGC Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a Brad's Gold Club and 3551 Lafayette Road Corp. d/b/a Brad's Gold Club v. Jerry Coleman Buchanan, by His Father and Guardian, Odell Buchanan
Civil tort. Affirms denial of summary judgment in favor of Brad’s Gold Club parties in a negligence action resulting from a pedestrian’s injuries caused by a club waitress’s crash on her way home from work after she had been furnished alcohol. There are issues of fact concerning whether the club provided the waitress alcohol with knowledge she was visibly intoxicated and whether it breached its duty to supervise her. Buchanan’s cross-motion for summary judgment also was properly denied because evidence establishes that the waitress had no knowledge of her own level of intoxication to be imputed to the club.

Opinions Aug. 4, 2015

August 4, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
David J. Markey v. Estate of Frances S. Markey, Deceased; Stephen L. Routson, Personal Representative Under the Last Will and Testament of Frances S. Markey, Deceased et al
Estate. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Agrees with David Markey that his claim for breach of contract to make and not revoke mutual wills is a claim governed by the probate code. Remands to determine if Markey was a “creditor” who was “known or reasonably ascertainable” and therefore timely filed his claim.  

Opinions Aug. 3, 2015

August 3, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Louise Milan v. Billy Bolin, in his individual capacity as Evansville Police Department Chief, et al.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division
Judge William Lawrence
Civil. Affirms denial of summary judgment in favor of the Evansville police defendants on Louise Milan’s claim of excessive use of force resulting from a SWAT team raid on her house initiated with the use of flash-bang grenades. Denial of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment is reasonable considering the use of flash bangs, the skimpy basis for the search and its prematurity, and the failure to conduct a more extensive investigation.

Opinions July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday
In Re the Visitation of L-A.D.W., R.W. v. M.D. and W.D.
Domestic. Affirms trial court grant of grandparent visitation, finding visitation in the child’s best interests and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting a schedule it deemed occasional and temporary. Justice Steven David wrote the majority opinion joined by Justices Brent Dickson and Mark Massa. Chief Justice Loretta Rush concurred, but wrote separately to caution that a reliance upon deference to the trial court insufficiently protects a parent’s constitutional right to guide a child’s upbringing, but in this case, the visitation order did not unduly infringe on father’s parental rights. Justice Robert Rucker joined Rush’s concurring opinion.
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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.