Opinions

Opinions Feb. 14, 2017

February 14, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
School City of Hammond District v. Chad Rueth
45A03-1603-CT-450
Civil tort. Reverses judgment pursuant to a jury verdict in favor of Chad Rueth on his claims of defamation and blacklisting, finding there is insufficient evidence to support a verdict in his favor, and the trial court abused its discretion by denying the School City of Hammond District’s motion to correct error.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2017

February 13, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lori A. Spang v. Timothy R. Spang (mem. dec.)
02A03-1608-DR-1876
Domestic relation. Affirms the grant of Timothy Sprang’s objection to the relocation of his 12-year-old daughter, E.S., with her mother, Lori Sprang, and his petition for modification of custody. Finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion because it properly considered all factors and Timothy Sprang met his burden of proof to demonstrate that the proposed location was not in E.S.’s best interest.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2017

February 10, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tradale Jones v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1608-CR-1833
Criminal. Affirms Tradale Jones’ aggregate sentence of 50 years imposed for two counts of Level 1 felony rape and one count each of Level 3 felony robbery with a deadly weapon, Level 3 felony kidnapping while armed with a deadly weapon and Level 3 felony criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon. Finds that Jones’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character or the nature of his offense.
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2017

February 9, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andy A. Shinnock v. State of Indiana
18A05-1606-CR-1258
Criminal. Reverses Andy A. Shinnock’s conviction of bestiality as a Level 6 felony. Finds the Delaware Circuit Court erred in admitting Shinnock’s confessions at trial because the corpus delicti of the crime charged was not established. Remands.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2017

February 8, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
City of Lawrence Utilities Service Board, City of Lawrence, Indiana, and Mayor Dean Jessup, Individually and in his Official Capacity v. Carlton E. Curry
49S02-1609-CT-481
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Carlton Curry on his wrongful discharge claim and in favor of the city of Lawrence on Curry’s Wage Payment Statute claim. Also affirms the denial of Curry’s tortious interference claim. Finds that based on the clear and unambiguous language of Indiana Code 8-1.5-3-5(d), the Utilities Service Board had the sole authority to terminate Curry after notice and a hearing. Also finds that any other method for termination is up to the Legislature to determine as a matter of policy. Justice Steve David dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2017

February 7, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: The Matter of D.J. and G.J., Children in Need of Services; Gr.J. (Mother) and J.J. (Father) v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services

02S03-1610-JC-548
Juvenile. Reverses the Allen Superior Court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J.’s two minor children, D.J. and G.J., were children in need of services. Finds the record does not support the trial court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J. needed the court’s coercive intervention to provide for their boys’ needs at the time of the dispositional hearing. Exercises the Indiana Supreme Court’s discretion to decide the parents’ case on its merits, despite their forfeited appeal.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2017

February 6, 2017
Indiana Tax Court
The University of Phoenix, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1411-TA-65
Tax. Grants in part the University of Phoenix, Inc.’s motion with respect to the previously withheld documentation regarding House Bill 1349 and orders the Indiana Department of State Revenue to provide the documentation to the University within seven days. Denies the university’s motion with respect to all other matters regarding HB 1349, the report, the presentation and the designation of another 30(B)(6) witness.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2017

February 3, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Abel Covarrubias
16-3402
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms the district court’s denial of Abel Covarrubias’ motion to suppress drugs found in a car being delivered to him from across the country. Finds that the district court correctly decided that Covarrubias lacked standing to contest the admission of the drugs into evidence.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2017

February 2, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rachel Neal v. IAB Financial Bank, f/k/a Grabill Bank
02A03-1604-CT-1002
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of IAB Financial Bank. Finds because all three Webb factors lean against imposing a duty here, the Allen Superior Court did not err in concluding the bank owed no duty to Neal.

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Opinions Feb. 1, 2017

February 1, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Menard, Inc. v. Reba Lane
45A03-1606-CT-1283
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of Menard Inc.’s motion to set aside the default judgment entered in favor of Reba Lane when Menard failed to appear or defend itself against her personal injury suit. Finds the Lake Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Menard’s motion. Also finds Lane attempted service of her compliant and summons in multiple ways, all of which conformed with the requirements of the Indiana Trial Rules and that Lane’s attorney did not engage in misconduct when she did not notify the two law firms who had represented Menard in the past. Finally, finds that the breakdown in communication between Menard employees regarding the summons and complaint was not excusable neglect.
 
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2017

January 31, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of William A. Miller, by its representatives Patrick T. Chassie and Linda Wilkerson v. Helen J. Marberry and Gary Rogers.

15-1497.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Prisoner. Affirms the grant of summary judgment to Helen Marberry and Gary Rogers. Judge Richard Posner dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2017

January 30, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legato Vapors, LLC, et al and Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition, Inc. v. David Cook, et al
16-3071
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the judgment of the district court dismissing the case. Remands with instructions to enjoin enforcement of the challenged provisions of the Vapor Pens and E-Liquids Act against the plaintiffs and to declare the challenged provisions unenforceable against out-of-state manufacturers. Finds that Indiana may not try to achieve health and safety goals by directly regulating out-of-state factories and commercial transactions. Also finds that as applied to out-of-state manufacturers, the challenged provisions of the act violate the dormant Commerce Clause prohibition against extraterritorial legislation.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2017

January 27, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lana Canen v. Dennis Chapman, in his individual capacity as Deputy for the Elkhart County Sheriff Department
16-1621
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana’s dismissal of Lana Canen’s case at summary judgment on the grounds that Dennis Chapman was entitled to qualified immunity. Finds that Detective Chapman's failure to disclose that he was not trained as a latent print examiner cannot be characterized as a violation of any clearly established right and, accordingly, the doctrine of qualified immunity protects him. Also finds that to the degree that this action is premised on the preparation or presentation of his trial testimony, absolute immunity protects Chapman.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2017

January 26, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Demajio Ellis v. State of Indiana
71S05-1606-PC-360
Post-conviction. Reverses the denial of Demajio Ellis’ post-conviction relief. Finds that Ellis’ guilty plea to four Class A felony offenses was invalid because at the time he entered the plea, he also professed his innocence.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2017

January 25, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rollie M. Mitchell v. United States of America
14-3759
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms the denial of Rollie Mitchell’s motion for post-conviction review. Finds that Bruce Brattain did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2017

January 24, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Narles W. Coleman
98S00-1301-DI-52
Disciplinary. Suspends Narles W. Coleman from the practice of law in Indiana for at least two years without automatic reinstatement. Finds Coleman engaged in numerous acts of attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and subsequent civil suit against that client and by committing domestic battery against his wife.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2017

January 23, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
GHPE Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical v. Jason Huxley
49A02-1601-PL-164
Civil plenary. Affirms the Marion Superior Court damages award on Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical’s counterclaim and its refusal to award treble damages or attorney fees to Godby. Reverses the trial court’s award of $972.71 in base wages to Jason Huxley, as well as the doubling of that amount as liquidated damages. Remands for calculation of the wages to which Huxley is entitled after consideration of mandatory tax withholding only. Also remands for recalculation of the reasonable appellate attorney fees to which Huxley is entitled with respect to defending the Wage Payment Act judgment only.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2017

January 20, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin T. Williams v. Unifund CCR, LLC
71A04-1604-CC-901
Civil collection. Reverses the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s judgment in favor of Unifund CCR LLC on Unifund’s complaint against Kevin T. Williams for nonpayment of credit card debt. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in entering judgment in favor of Unifund.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2017

January 19, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dermatology Associates, P.C. and Sonya Campbell Johnson, M.D. v. Elizabeth C. White v. Commissioner of Indiana Department of Insurance, and Douglas J. Hill, Esq., Medical Review Panel Chair
49A02-1512-PL-2189
Civil plenary. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson at Dermatology Associates P.C.’s motion for summary judgment alleging Elizabeth White failed to timely file her claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Finds the statute of limitations bars White’s action and the providers are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Judge Paul Mathias dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2017

January 18, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Elberta N. Jackson v. State of Indiana
27A02-1607-CR-1717
Criminal. Affirms Elberta N. Jackson’s conviction for operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.15 as a Class A misdemeanor, resisting law enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct as a Class B misdemeanor. Finds that there is sufficient evidence to support Jackson’s conviction and that her due process rights were not violated.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2017

January 17, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: the Grandparent Visitation of G.S., J.S. v. M.S.
30A01-1608-DR-1801
Domestic relation. Reverses in part a Hancock Circuit Court order mandating G.S. be permitted to have contact with other paternal relatives when participating in grandparent visitation with M.S. Finds there is no statutory authority for a trial court to order a child to have visitation with anyone other than a grandparent in the face of a parent’s objections.

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Opinions Jan. 13, 2017

January 13, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney Tyms-Bey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1603-CR-439
Criminal. Affirms the trial court’s order granting the state’s motion to strike Rodney Tyms-Bey’s notice of defense under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Finds as a matter of law that the state’s compelling interest in a uniform and mandatory taxation system falls into the statutory exception such that RFRA affords no relief to Tyms-Bey. Remands for proceedings. Judge Edward Najam dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2017

January 12, 2017
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Merchandise Warehouse Co., Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue

49T10-1302
Tax. Grants summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of State Revenue and against Merchandise Warehouse Co., Inc. Finds that Merchandise Warehouse’s purchase of freezer equipment and electricity to power that equipment was not exempt from Indiana sales tax under Indiana Code 6-2.5-5-3 and 6-1.5-5-5.1. Also finds that Merchandise Warehouse does not produce other tangible personal property in an integrated production process when it freezes its customers’ food products.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2017

January 11, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Stephen H. Perron and the United States Bankruptcy Trustee for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Christine M. Jackson v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A.
15-2206
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Chase Bank in ex-couple Perron and Jackson’s lawsuit claiming the bank’s response to a misapplied insurance payment, seeking more than $300,000 in damages, caused their divorce. To the extent that any requested information was missing, Perron and Jackson suffered no actual damages and thus have no viable claim, nor did the bank breach the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2017

January 10, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jacob Skipworth v. State of Indiana

49A02-1605-CR-973
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s decision to order Jacob Skipworth to complete 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling as a condition of his probation for his convictions of criminal confinement and strangulation, both Level 6 felonies. Finds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering domestic violence counseling. Also finds that the trial court’s sentencing order and abstract of judgment contain clerical errors. Remands with instructions to correct the clerical errors.
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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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