Opinions

Opinions Sept. 11, 2014

September 11, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Choice Management Services Inc., et al; CRM Energy Partners and John W. Hannah v. Joseph D. Bradley, Receiver
14-1270, 14-2284
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of CRM’s motion to intervene in the sale of an oil and gas lease in order to compensate victims of fraud. Dismisses its appeal of the District Court’s approval of the sale. CRM waited too long to intervene in the action.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2014

September 10, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Barbara J. Pohl v. Michael G. Pohl
32S04-1404-DR-245
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court and remands with instructions to apply the incapacity maintenance statute’s “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” standard to the evidence presented at the modification hearing. Any maintenance provision in a settlement agreement, regardless of its grounds, is modifiable only if the agreement so provides. The agreement in this matter contains such a provision.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2014

September 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert O. Hedrick v. Angela R. Gilbert
47A01-1401-DR-1
Domestic relation. Affirmed in part, reversed in part. Affirms denial of Hedrick’s motion to modify support for post-secondary educational expenses and affirms order of contempt and $500 fine issued to Hedrick for failing to abide by prior court rulings. Reverses the award to Gilbert of $1,000 in attorney fees as part of the contempt order, ruling that the trial court did not make findings that Hedrick’s petition to modify was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless.
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Opinions Sept. 8, 2014

September 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Inc., Save the Valley, Inc., Sierra Club, and Valley Watch, Inc. v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
93A02-1305-EX-394
Agency action. Remands to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission its order approving Duke’s request to include power plant construction costs of the Edwardsport coal-gasification plant from Oct. 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012, in a rate adjustment rider. Remands for findings as to whether a delay was chargeable to Duke and, if so, what impact the delay had on Duke’s customers’ rates. Also remands for a clear statement of the policy and evidentiary considerations underlying IURC’s determination that 50 percent of the plant was deemed in-service.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2014

September 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marilyn Rae Baskin v. Penny Bogan
14-2386
Midori Fujii v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health
14-2387
Pamela Lee v. Brian Abbott
14-2388
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young
Civil. Affirms District Court judgment invalidating and enjoining Indiana and Wisconsin prohibitions on same-sex marriage. The 7th Circuit consolidated the three same-sex marriage cases from Indiana into one opinion with the single case from Wisconsin, Wolf et al. v. Walker, et al., 14:2526. The court confined its ruling to the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and did not address the plaintiffs’ due process arguments. Rejects Indiana’s responsible procreation argument, finding Indiana’s prohibition on same-sex marriage discriminates against gays and lesbians.
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Opinions Sept. 4, 2014

September 4, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
TP Orthodontics, Inc., Christopher Kesling, DDS, MS, Adam Kesling, and Emily Kesling, et al. v. Andrew Kesling, Individually and as Trustee of the Andrew C. Kesling Trust Dated March 28, 2001 et al.
46S03-1405-MI-337
Miscellaneous. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in ordering disclosure of the full special litigation committee report, as portions of it containing privileged information cannot be disclosed to the sibling shareholders. Remands to the trial court to conduct an in camera review of the full report to determine whether the designate material is in fact privileged.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2014

September 3, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Natural Resources Defense Council v. Poet Biorefining- North Manchester, LLC, Poet Biorefining- Cloverdale, LLC, Central Indiana Ethanol, Inc., et al.
49S02-1405-MI-313
Miscellaneous. IDEM was not required to formally amend Indiana’s state implementation plan with the EPA to effectuate its change in how it interprets the regulatory phrase “chemical process plant.” IDEM’s interpretation to exclude fuel ethanol plants under the definition of “chemical process plant” is legally permissible.
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Opinions Sept. 2, 2014

September 2, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
James M. Sweeney, et al. v. Gov. Michael Pence, et al.
13-1264
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of union’s lawsuit arguing the Right to Work Act violates union members’ rights under the U.S. Constitution and is preempted by federal labor legislation. The legislation is not preempted by the scheme of federal labor law and does not violate any constitutional rights. Judge Tinder for the majority writes that the controversy of the law needs to be addressed legislatively, not through the courts. Chief Judge Wood dissents.
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Opinions Aug. 29, 2014

August 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
C.H. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1310-JV-904
Juvenile. Affirms officer’s stop of C.H. because he was believed to be a suspect in a crime and the order of restitution because C.H. never objected to the order he pay restitution. Reverses adjudication of what would be Class B misdemeanor unlawful entry of a motor vehicle because the same evidence was used to adjudicate C.H. of that charge and what would be Class A misdemeanor trespass. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Aug. 28, 2014

August 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Carey Helmuth and Physiocare Home Healthcare, LLC
29A04-1403-PL-121
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Helmuth and Physiocare Home Healthcare LLC, in which the trial court concluded that Helmuth’s 10-day break in employment with Nightingale served as the starting point of his limited non-competition and non-disclosure agreement.
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Opinions Aug. 27, 2014

August 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kenneth Owen Scrogham v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
13-3601
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Reverses denial of application for disability benefits and remands for further proceedings. The administrative law judge’s methodology was flawed in several respects. Three logical errors – overstating the significance of Scrogham’s daily activities, overreliance on his rehabilitative efforts as proof of his fitness for full-time work, and misinterpreting the significance of his extensive treatment – had a material effect on the ALJ’s credibility and residual functional capacity assessments.
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Opinions Aug. 26, 2014

August 26, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Smith v. Richard Brown
12-3731
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division.
Judge James T. Moody
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Smith’s habeas petition. Finds although Smith’s counsel appeared to be particularly deficient, Smith failed to demonstrate how his lawyer’s substandard effort prejudiced his case since there was overwhelming evidence against him.

 
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Opinions Aug. 25, 2014

August 25, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Department of State Revenue v. Caterpillar, Inc.
49S10-1402-TA-79
Tax. Reverses judgment of the Indiana Tax Court in favor of Caterpillar, holding the company may not deduct foreign-source dividend income when calculating net operating losses based on plain statutory meaning. Caterpillar also did not meet its burden to prove the conclusion violated the Foreign Commerce Clause. Remands to the Tax Court with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of the Department of Revenue.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2014

August 22, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. v. Marion County Assessor
49T10-1201-TA-1
Property tax. Affirms Indiana Board of Tax Review finding that Indianapolis Racquet Club Inc. failed to establish a prima facie case that its 2002 assessments were excessive or that they were not uniform and equal.
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Opinions Aug. 21, 2014

August 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
James S. Littrell v. State of Indiana
79A02-1401-CR-24
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of Class B felony possession of cocaine. Finds Littrell’s right to a fast and speedy trial was not violated, the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction, and his sentence is appropriate. Remands for the sole purpose of correcting a typographical error in the guilty plea and sentencing orders.
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Opinions Aug. 20, 2014

August 20, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc. and Roncelli, Inc. v. Fostcorp Heating and Cooling, Inc., Wilson Iron Works, Inc., Johnson Carpet, Inc., d/b/a Johnson Commercial Interiors
64A03-1308-PL-318
Civil plenary. Affirms ruling in favor of Fostcorp Heating and Cooling and other appellees on various breach of contract claims and foreclosure of mechanic’s liens stemming from the construction of a movie theatre. Roncelli’s appeal was timely filed and the judgments are supported by the findings. It was an abuse of discretion for the trial court to award attorney fees, so reverses those fees in favor of the appellees.
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Opinions Aug. 19, 2014

August 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Adoption of M.H., W.M. & S.K. v. N.B. & R.B.
82A01-1310-AD-449
Adoption.  Affirms order denying W.M. and S.K.’s petition for adoption of M.H. and granting the petition of adoption filed by R.B. and N.B. The appellants did not overcome the presumption that the judge acted impartially when he ruled in favor of N.B. and R.B. The judge received an email from a former fraternity brother in favor of the adoptive family, but he refused to recuse himself in the case because he said he would not consider the person’s argument, stopped reading the email quickly, and had not recently socialized or interacted with the fraternity brother. Finds evidence supports adoption by N.B. and R.B. in the best interests of the child.
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Opinions Aug. 18, 2014

August 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Linda D. McIntire, and those similarly situated v. Franklin Township Community School Corporation
49A02-1401-PL-2
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the school corporation on McIntire’s lawsuit challenging certain fees charged to students in high school. The trial court erred in concluding her claim was subject to the notice requirements of the Indiana Tort Claims Act, but affirms because McIntire may not maintain a claim for monetary damages under Article I, Section 8 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2014

August 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Randall Ray Fletcher Jr.
12-3104
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms 30-year sentence in prison plus a lifetime of supervised release following a guilty plea to five counts involving child pornography that occurred over a seven-year period. Because his crimes spanned a range of years during which the guidelines for child pornography offenses underwent significant changes, his sentencing posed complex calculations and raised potential constitutional problems. Any errors the court made in calculating the guidelines sentence for Fletcher were harmless.
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Opinions Aug. 14, 2014

August 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Elliott D. Levin, as trustee in bankruptcy for Irwin Financial Corp. v. William I. Miller, et al.
12-3474
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal with respects to counts 1, 2, 4 and 5 that claim bank managers violated their fiduciary duties to Irwin because those claims are now owned by the FDIC.  Vacates dismissal of counts 3 – that managers allowed Irwin to pay dividends in amounts that left it short of capital - and 7 – that two of the managers breach their duties of care and loyalty – and and remands for further proceedings because those claims are categorized as direct claims that must be pursued by the bank, not the FDIC. Judge Hamilton concurs in result.
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Opinions Aug. 13, 2014

August 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Joshua Gomillia v. State of Indiana
49S02-1408-CR-521
Criminal. Affirms total executed sentence of 40 years imposed following a plea agreement to one count of Class A felony criminal deviate conduct and one count of Class B felony robbery. The nature and circumstances of the crime included the trial court’s discussion of the leadership role Gomillia played in the commission of the offenses, as well as the terror the victim suffered. Both are appropriate reasons justifying a sentence greater than the advisory term.
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Opinions Aug.12, 2014

August 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.A., L.A., and M.A. (Minor Children) and B.A. (Mother) and J.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
55A04-1401-JT-37
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights for mother and father to their three minor children following father’s conviction of Class B felony dealing methamphetamine and mother’s conviction of Class D felony neglect of a dependent. While mother neither received nor signed a case plan negotiated with the Department of Child Services, the record shows mother didn’t lack knowledge of what she needed to do to get her children back, but rather she didn’t participate. Evidence also was sufficient to support termination of mother’s and father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Aug. 11, 2014

August 11, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dwight Hayes v. State of Indiana
49A04-1312-CR-619
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class A misdemeanor pointing a firearm. Finds the trial court properly rejected Hayes’ proposed jury instructions based on Indiana’s stand-your-ground law because there was no evidence that his property was being attacked when he pointed two handguns at a woman trying to serve him with legal documents.
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Opinions Aug. 8, 2014

August 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Geico Insurance Company, as subrogee of Ralph Heitkamp v. Dianna Graham
49A02-1310-CT-898
Civil tort. Affirms order setting aside summary judgment in favor of Geico on grounds that its claim in Marion Superior Court is barred by the doctrine of res judicata because it is derivative of a judgment in St. Joseph County in favor of Graham. 
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Opinions Aug. 7, 2014

August 7, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Howard County Assessor v. Kokomo Mall, LLC
49T10-1109-TA-56
Tax. Affirms the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that reduced Kokomo Mall LLC’s commercial property assessments for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 tax years. Court declines to reweigh the evidence presented to the board and rejects the assessor’s claim that the mere presentation of a USPAP appraisal establishes a prima facie case.
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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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