Opinions

Opinions April 23, 2015

April 23, 2015
J.B. v. State of Indiana 
49A02-1409-JV-688
Juvenile. Affirms determination that J.B. committed what would be Class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm if committed by an adult. There were no federal or state constitutional violations by admitting evidence obtained during J.B.’s encounter with a police officer.  
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Opinions April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
William I. Babchuk, M.D., P.C., d/b/a Babchuk Imaging, P.C., and William I. Babchuk v. Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital, Inc., d/b/a Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital
80A04-1409-PL-447
Civil plenary. Reverses order dismissing Babchuk’s complaint of breach of contract for failure to prosecute under Trial Rule 41(E).  While the trial court would have had discretion to dismiss Babchuk’s case for failure to prosecute had a timely motion been filed, the hospital did not file its motion to dismiss before Babchuk had resumed prosecution of his case. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kenneth Sandidge
14-1492
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms four-level enhancement for conviction of felon in possession of a firearm because it was in connection with another felony, and denial of three-level reduction for accepting responsibility. Remands to the trial court to vacate conditions of supervised release, which in accord with recent 7th Circuit holdings must be imposed to fit the particular circumstances of the defendant being sentenced.
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Opinions April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stephen F. Smith v. Foegley Landscape, Inc.
71A03-1405-SC-169
Small Claims. Affirms judgment in favor of Foegley Landscape but reverses $1,500 award for attorney fees. Finds the small claims court did not have any documentation to properly evaluate the reasonableness of the fees. Remands to the small claims court to hold a hearing and determine the reasonable attorney fees.
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Opinions April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angelique Lockett and Lanetra Lockett v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc., and Cathy McGee
45A05-1407-CT-340
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood on a malpractice claim, but remands to the trial court to correct the order of judgment for defendants to show that McGee, who provided identification to a 17-year-old to obtain an abortion without parental consent, is not dismissed as a defendant.
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Opinions April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Satterfield v. State of Indiana
49A02-1409-CR-659
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to let bail following Satterfield’s arrest and charge for murder. Although Statterfield forfeited his right to appeal by not filing the notice of appeal within 30 days of the trial court order, the COA concluded his appeal deserves a determination on the merits. Remands for new hearing so Satterfield can present evidence of self-defense.
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Opinions April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015
Joseph E. Corcoran v. Ron Neal, superintendent
13-1318
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms denial of writ for federal habeas relief from death penalty. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the trial judge did not rely on nonstatutory aggravating factors, and that determination was not unreasonable. The Supreme Court also reasonably determined that the trial judge considered all proffered evidence in mitigation.
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Opinions April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Think Tank Software Development Corp., d/b/a Think Tank Networking Tech. Group and Think Tank Info. Systems v. Chester, Inc., Mike Heinhold, John Mario, Joel Parker, Thomas Guelinas, et al.
64A03-1404-PL-134
Civil plenary. Affirms directed verdict in favor of Chester Inc. and other defendants on Think Tank’s claim for misappropriation of trade secrets. Also finds the trial court correctly determined that Think Tank’s non-solicitation claim was barred.
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Opinions April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Israel Munoz v. Jerome Woroszylo
79A02-1409-CT-679
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Munoz’s motion to dismiss Woroszylo’s lawsuit stemming from a car accident filed in Tippecanoe County after the case was dismissed from Illinois federal court for lack of personal jurisdiction. There is no intent that Worosyzlo filed his suit in Illinois with intent to abuse judicial process or create undue delay and his decision to file in Indiana state court is allowed under the Journey’s Account Statute.
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Opinions April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
ESPN Productions, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1312-TA-76
Tax. Grants in part and denies in part ESPN’s request to place certain documents within the judicial record under seal. Holds that the tax returns, production services agreement, and cable television license agreements submitted by the company as designated evidence in support of its motion for summary judgment are protected from public disclosure under both Access to Public Records Act and Administrative Rule 9(G)(2). That protection does not extend to ESPN’s supplement to protest.
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Opinions April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Cohen & Malad, LLP v. John P. Daly, Jr., Golitko & Daly, P.C., and Golitko Legal Group, P.C.
29S02-1504-PL-165
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of quantum meruit relief to Cohen & Malad for part of the contingent fees earned in cases that where first handled by C&M attorneys and later by Daly and his firm after he left C&M.
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Opinions April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Mark Bozovich
14-1435
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of conspiracy to distribute heroin and 235-month prison sentence. The District judge made a clear credibility finding and otherwise carefully scrutinized the drug quantity evidence. Finds that by testifying on direct about his heroin purchasing habits and motives for his purchases, Bozovich opened himself up for cross-examination as to those topics.
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Opinions April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Glenn Sciaraffa v. State of Indiana
09A04-1410-CR-470
Criminal. Affirms conviction for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor; and an adjudication as a habitual substance offender. Finds no fundamental error occurred during the admission of presumptive positive test and rules the state’s closing arguments fell within the bounds of prosecutorial advocacy. Also holds the state presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain Sciaraffa’s conviction for dealing in methamphetamine.
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Opinions April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Demetrius L. Grant, and Vickie O. Grant v. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co.
49A05-1404-MF-139
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses and remands a grant of summary judgment in favor of Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., and remands with instructions to dismiss the case. By refiling a suit that had been dismissed under Trial Rule 41(E) for failing to prosecute, the bank violated the rule and the doctrine of res judicata, since dismissal under T.R. 41(E), unless otherwise specified, operates as a judgment on the merits and dismissal with prejudice. 
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Opinions April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nicholas A. Rushlow v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A03-1408-CR-310
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class A felony attempted murder and Class C felony criminal recklessness.
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Opinions April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015
United States of America v. Christian J. Miller, Frank Jordan, and Joshua N. Bowser
14-1237, 14-1585, and 14-1592
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms judgments against defendants for various criminal charges, including wire fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Bowser’s case is remanded for further consideration of the term of his supervised release authorizing suspicionless searches.
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Opinions March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Berthal O. Williams and Patricia Williams v. The Indiana Rail Road Company
77A04-1311-CC-580
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Rail Road Company on the Williamses’ attempt to enforce a 1901 indenture regarding a dam on their property. Concludes the indenture was a covenant running with the land, that the terms set forth in the indenture required IRR to maintain the dam and the water level at a specific depth, and that it contained a covenant, perpetual in nature, that did not cease upon a prior breach. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re: Indiana State Fair Litigation: Polet, et al. v. Mid-America Sound, et. al.
49A02-1404-CT-288
Civil tort. Majority reverses trial court order granting summary judgment in favor of the Indiana State Fair Commission on Mid-America Sound’s claim that its contract requires the commission to indemnify it against claims from the 2011 State Fair stage collapse that killed and injured patrons. The majority held the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not apply and there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the validity and enforceability of the indemnification agreement. Remands for trial. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented and would find the commission has immunity from Mid-America’s claims and that the Tort Claims Act applies.
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Opinions March 27, 2015

March 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimmy Wallen, Jr. v. State of Indiana

79A02-1407-CR-469
Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, a Class D felony. Splits over question of whether jury instruction invaded the role of the jury by presuming the state had established Wallen knowingly intended to deprive Walmart of its property. Finds jury instruction error harmless because the jury could have concluded from the evidence alone that Wallen had shoplifted.
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Opinions March 26, 2015

March 26, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
First American Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Ind., in his Official Capacity, on Behalf of the Ind. Dept. of Insurance
49S04-1311-PL-732
Civil plenary. Grants rehearing to delete the first clause in third footnote. Agreed its reversal of the denial to dismiss First American’s petition appears to be inconsistent with its affirming the concerns about the timeliness of the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance’s hearing order and First American’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

 
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Opinions March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Dustin E. McCowan v. State of Indiana
64S03-1408-CR-516
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction, finding that a proposed jury instruction rejected by the judge regarding presumption of innocence had been sufficiently covered by other jury instructions and proceedings. States that prospectively, it is the absolute right of every criminal defendant to receive the following jury instruction, if requested: “The presumption of innocence continues in favor of the defendant throughout the trial. You should fit the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent if you can reasonably do so.”
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Opinions March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Drakkar R. Willis v. State of Indiana
49S02-1410-CR-617
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass, finding the evidence insufficient to sustain the conviction.
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Opinions March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Seward v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1408-CR-567
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder but vacates the convictions and sentences for  reckless homicide and battery, which placed him in double jeopardy. The aggregate 62-year sentence remains because sentences for the vacated offenses were to be served concurrently.
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Opinions March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Dennis Alan Howell
94S00-1405-CQ-321
Certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Determines that spouses and children need not be the debtor’s dependents for policy exemptions to apply in life insurance policies involved in a bankruptcy estate.
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Opinions March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission v. Lebamoff Enterprises, Inc.
49A02-1408-MI-529
Miscellaneous. Reinstates and affirms the ATC’s final order sanctioning Lebamoff Enterprises for using a common carrier to deliver alcohol to customers. ATC’s interpretation of the relevant statutory authority was reasonable and its order did not reflect an improper attempt to create an agency rule, but rather was a proper exercise of the ATC’s adjudicatory function. Remands with instructions.
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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