Opinions

Opinions Sept. 30, 2013

September 30, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 30, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Archer v. State of Indiana

49A05-1209-CR-448
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of child molestation, rejecting arguments that the trial court’s statement about the victim’s competency was an impermissible vouching statement and that the court improperly allowed vouching statements by multiple witnesses. The court’s denial of Archer’s request to present evidence of the victim’s post-allegation demeanor also was proper, as were jury instructions and the effectiveness of Archer’s trial counsel.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2013

September 26, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
M & M Investment Group, LLC v. Ahlemeyer Farms, Inc. and Monroe Bank
03S04-1211-CC-645
Civil collection. Reverses the trial court and remands. Rules the requirement in Indiana Code 6-1.1-24-3(b)  that a mortgage holder must request a copy of a notice that a parcel of property is eligible for tax sale does not violate the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. The Supreme Court upheld 20 years of precedent in finding the statute is constitutional.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2013

September 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven Harper and Rose Harper as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Steven Harper, Deceased v. Gerry Hippensteel, M.D.
42A04-1302-MI-95
Miscellaneous/medical malpractice. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Gerry Hippensteel, concluding that he did not owe a duty to Steven Harper Jr. on the basis of a Collaborative Practice Agreement the doctor signed with a nurse practitioner who provided care. Because Hippensteel took no affirmative action with regard to Harper, he is entitled to summary judgment because no doctor-patient relationship existed or was imposed by the agreement.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2013

September 24, 2013
Opinions  Sept 24, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

Jerome Milian v. State of Indiana
79A02-1302-CR-197
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of Jerome Milian’s pro se motion to withdraw his plea of guilty to Class A felony dealing cocaine. The court concluded that Milian, who was represented at his pro se hearing by stand-by counsel, received multiple advisements and admonishments from the trial court regarding his rights, and in particular, his right to representation by counsel. Milian failed to meet his burden of proving that he was subjected to manifest injustice.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2013

September 23, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 23, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

C. Subah Packer v. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development
93A02-1301-EX-83
Agency action. Affirms determination of a liability administrative law judge that a horse stable owner must pay unemployment compensation taxes plus interest and penalties for employees during the years 2008-2011 because they performed some amount of non-agricultural labor. Because employment records did not establish the amount of wages paid to workers for agricultural or non-agricultural work, a determination that Packer must pay taxes on total compensation for the audit years is not arbitrary, unreasonable, against the evidence or contrary to law.
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Opinions - Sept. 20, 2013

September 20, 2013
Opinions – Sept. 20, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals


Walter E. Lunsford v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as Trustee
30A01-1302-MF-63
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Deutsche Bank, holding that its mortgage was the senior lien on a property that Walter Lunsford sold on a land contract years earlier but failed to record until after the mortgage was recorded. Deutsche Bank is the holder of the note and was entitled to enforce the loan document after a default, and Lunsford waived his arguments that the bank lacks standing and that it refused his offer to make payment in full because those arguments were not raised before the trial court.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2013

September 19, 2013
Beneficial Financial 1 Inc., Successor in Interest to Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Indiana v. Sharon Hatton, a/k/a Sharon J. Hatton, First Select, Inc., Calvary SPV, II, LLC, and Discover Bank
45A03-1212-MF-531
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses trial court grant of dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, finding that a surviving company after a merger needs no documentation of assignment of interest in Hatton’s mortgage, and remands to the trial court with instructions to reinstate Beneficial’s complaint for damages. Beneficial also must have an opportunity to prove that a mutual mistake was the cause of an erroneous legal description of the property secured by the mortgage.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Kevin M. Clark v. State of Indiana
20S05-1301-CR-10
Criminal. Reverses conviction and 45-year sentence for Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine, holding that police violated the Fourth Amendment protections of Kevin Clark when a late-night call regarding someone allegedly living improperly at a 24-hour self-storage unit instead became a “fishing expedition” for narcotics based on an officer’s hunch. Officers saw nothing illegal or appearing to constitute narcotics use, and evidence gathered from resulting search must be suppressed as fruit of the poison tree, a 4-1 majority ruled. Justice Mark Massa dissented, holding that when Clark dropped a bag as police approached, it provided reasonable suspicion, as did Clark’s subsequent admission that the bag contained marijuana.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2013

September 17, 2013
Indiana Tax Court
United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-0704-TA-24
Premiums tax. On remand from a reversal by the Indiana Supreme Court, denies UPS’s motion for summary judgment of an appeal of taxes due for the years 2000 and 2001 and grants summary judgment in favor of the Department of Revenue, holding that statutes governing premiums tax on out-of-state insurers are immune from Commerce Clause challenges.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2013

September 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larry Lyons, Jr. v. State of Indiana
36A01-1208-CR-331
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felony methamphetamine possession. Finds there is no evidence that the trial court’s failure to provide instructions in strict accordance to Indiana Code 35-37-2-4 and Indiana Jury Rule 26(b) caused Lyons harm or put him at substantial risk of harm.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2013

September 13, 2013
Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber & Hardware; and Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center, Inc. v. Chi-Tec Construction & Remodeling, Inc.; John F. Ziola, Jr.; Et Al.
46A03-1301-MI-18
Miscellaneous/mechanic’s lien. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of the Margret Lynn West trust, one of the defendant parties, and orders summary judgment entered for Von Tobel. The panel reversed a trial court ruling that the lien was invalid because a pre-lien notice named “Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center Inc.” and the lien notice named “Von Tobel Corporation” as claimants. The difference was minimal, not misleading and didn’t prejudice the trust or other parties, the panel held.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2013

September 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as Co-Personal Reps. of the Estate of Margaret A. Dreyer
10S01-1308-PL-529
Civil plenary. Grants transfer to dispel confusion arising from “inartful language” in previous opinion.
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Opinions Sept. 11, 2013

September 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David Hughes v. Kore of Indiana Enterprise Inc., et al.
13-8018
Civil. Reverses decertification of a class action, finding the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, did not provide adequate grounds for the ruling, and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2013

September 10, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John Scott
12-2962
Criminal. Affirms U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruling denying a motion to suppress evidence gathered from a search warrant issued after a driveway conversation involving drug deals was captured without the knowledge of either party, after a dealer took a confidential informant’s vehicle to meet his supplier, John Scott. The panel held that sufficient evidence aside from the recorded conversation supported the issuance of the warrant.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2013

September 9, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Christopher Eads
12-2464
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 480-month sentence for distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography and tampering with a witness. Addresses the issues Eads raises on appeal but upholds the decision of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Finds the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Eads to represent himself; the conviction for witness tampering was supported by the evidence; a new trial is not warranted because no new evidence has been discovered; and the discussion of 18 U.S.C. 3553 factors at sentencing was sufficient. Agrees with Eads that the district court erred in not thoroughly explaining on the record why it allowed images to be shown to the jury but rules the error is harmless because the additional evidence against him was overwhelming.  
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Opinions, Sept. 6, 2013

September 6, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Scott Weigle and April Weigle v. SPX Corp.
12-3024 and John Moore, II and Corinne Moore v. SPX Corp.

12-3025
Civil. Vacates a district court grant of summary judgment for SPX Corp. on a complaint seeking damages due design defects on a semi-truck trailer support stand from which a trailer fell on mechanics. Affirms the district court judgment of summary judgment with respect to inadequate-warning claims.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2013

September 5, 2013

Opinions, Sept. 5, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ezekier Breaziel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-CR-731
Criminal. Dismisses Breaziel’s interlocutory appeal of the denial of his motion to dismiss the charges against. Concludes sua sponte the COA lacks authority under the appellate rules to accept jurisdiction of Breaziel’s appeal.

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Opinions Sept. 4, 2013

September 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua Basey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A01-1301-CR-40
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.
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Opinions August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
John W. Schoettmer & Karen Schoettmer v. Jolene C. Wright & South Central Community Action Program, Inc.
49S04-1210-CT-607
Civil Tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment in defendants favor and remands for further proceedings. Rules even though the Schoettmers filed their law suit against South Central well past the Indiana Tort Claims Act’s 180-day deadline, they should be allowed to present proof of estoppel to the trial court. Finds South Central never told John Schoettmer it was covered by the Act and that South Central’s insurer did not make a settlement offer until nearly three months after the ITCA deadline.
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Opinions August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Court of Appeals

Stephanie Murry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in Marion County Community Corrections
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Opinions August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Butler et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
11-8029, 12-8030
Civil. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, reinstates class-action certification for two claims regarding front-loading Kenmore washing machines sold by Sears: that design defects created odor-producing mold and cause the machine to stop at inopportune times. Applying the SCOTUS holding in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013), the court held that a single common issue of liability ran through class action claims: whether the washers were defective.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2013

August 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger A. Buchanan and Susan Buchanan v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc.
39A01-1211-MF-515
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of HSBC Mortgage Services, holding that even if a mortgage was not properly acknowledged, the Buchanans don’t deny that they executed a mortgage and note when they purchased their home, on which they stopped making mortgage payments in 2007. The Buchanans’ arguments therefore are without merit.
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Opinions, Aug. 21, 2013

August 21, 2013
Opinions – Aug. 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals

Rodney Melton v. State of Indiana
49A02-1212-CR-1008
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, rejecting an argument that the dissemination statute requires a “performance” under that law be public. The court also found Melton’s 11-year aggregate sentence was not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense.
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Mom loses bid to bar DCS child interviews after clean home check

August 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
A mother who challenged a court order granting the Department of Child Services’ petitions to interview her minor children lost her appeal Wednesday, despite her argument that a DCS inspection of her home and her screening found no evidence of drug abuse that had been alleged in a complaint.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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