Opinions

Opinions Aug. 21, 2012

August 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Fields v. State of Indiana
47A04-1110-CR-577
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine. The trial court’s response to the jury’s mid-deliberation question did not constitute a modification of the jury instructions.
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Opinions Aug. 20, 2012

August 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Resendez v. Brian Smith
11-1121
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which Resendez claimed the state denied him his constitutional right to counsel in a sentence correction proceeding under I.C. 35-38-1-15.  His claims may not be presented via that statute as his motion is a collateral challenge to his sentence.
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Opinions Aug. 17, 2012

August 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Amerisure Insurance Co. v. National Surety Corp. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.
11-2762, 11-2771
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms breakdown that Amerisure, Scottsdale, and National are liable for $1 million, $1 million and $900,000, respectively, of the $2.9 million settlement a steel worker won after injuring himself on the job. Declines to apply the ‘mend-the-hold’ doctrine in this case, and Amerisure and National were not prejudiced by Scottsdale’s litigation conduct.
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Opinions Aug. 16, 2012

August 16, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas Rosenbaum, et al. v. Beau J. White, et al.
11-3224
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the attorney defendants in a lawsuit filed by investors in a failed business alleging state and federal RICO violations, conversion, securities fraud, common-law fraud, civil conspiracy, and legal malpractice.
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2012

August 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Reko D. Levels v. State of Indiana
82A01-1201-CR-25
Criminal. Reverses convictions of battery and public intoxication as Class B misdemeanors. Levels did not validly waive his right to a jury trial.
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Opinions Aug. 14, 2012

August 14, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jason Halasa v. ITT Educational Services Inc.
11-3305
Civil. Affirms summary judgment ruling and costs in favor of ITT. Jason Halasa, who directed the company’s Lathrop, Calif., campus for six months in 2009, sued the school on a claim that his rights were violated under the False Claims Act. ITT said Halasa was fired for showing poor management skills and delivering inadequate results.
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Opinions Aug. 13, 2012

August 13, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
CSL Community Association, Inc. v. Clarence Ray Meador
40A01-1112-MI-579
Miscellaneous. Reverses trial court’s grant of Meador’s motion for declaratory judgment that abrogated his obligation to pay homeowner’s association dues, finding that the evidence does not support the trial court’s conclusion that the changes in the community were so radical that the original purpose of the community and the deed restrictions were destroyed, and that the trial court erred in abrogating Meador’s obligation to pay dues and assessments.

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Opinions Aug. 10, 2012

August 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
HDNET LLC v. North American Boxing Council
49A02-1112-PL-1146
Civil plenary. Reverses and remands trial court grant of partial summary judgment in favor of North American Boxing Council, finding the grant of summary judgment was erroneous as a matter of law as it pertains to the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and that the Boxing Council’s civil conversion claim doesn’t fall within the criminal law exception to the IUTSA’s preemption provision.
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Opinions Aug. 9, 2012

August 9, 2012

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Danny R. Richards v. Michael Mitcheff, et al.
11-3227
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Richards’ lawsuit alleging the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by indifference to his serious medical condition and remands for further proceedings. The suit could not be properly dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) or Rule 12(c) because Indiana allows the statute of limitations to be tolled while one is incapacitated, which is what Richards argued as to why he didn’t file his complaint within the applicable time period.

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Opinions Aug. 8, 2012

August 8, 2012

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael J. Alexander v. Mark McKinney
11-3539
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of criminal defense attorney Michael Alexander’s lawsuit against Mark McKinney alleging violations of due process after finding McKinney, former Delaware County prosecutor, was entitled to qualified immunity because the complaint did not identify a depravation of a cognizable constitutional right. Alexander’s complaint is merely an attempt to recast an untimely false arrest claim into a due process claim.

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Opinions Aug. 7, 2012

August 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Warrick County, Indiana, A Political Subdivision, by and through its County Commissioners, Nova Conner, Don Williams, and Phillip Baxter, and Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. William Hill and Stacy Hill
87A01-1201-PL-8
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of summary judgment for Warrick County in an action brought against it and Cincinnati Insurance Co. by William and Stacy Hill. Agrees with trial court conclusion that the Hills filed their notice under the Indiana Tort Claims Act within 180 days and that the Hills did not discover the source of the damage to their home until 2007, so the claims are within the six-year statute of limitations on actions for injury to property other than personal property.
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Opinions Aug. 6, 2012

August 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Donald Gregory Huls v. State of Indiana

64A04-1110-CR-552
Criminal. Affirms convictions of criminal recklessness, one as a Class D felony and one as a Class C felony. Affirms denial of motion for mistrial because the prosecutor’s isolated comment did not have a probable persuasive effect on the jury and did not place Huls in grave peril. His proposed jury instructions incorrectly stated the law on self-defense or the evidence did not support giving them.
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Opinions Aug. 3, 2012

August 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
BKCAP, LLC, GRAYCAP, LLC, AND SWCAP, LLC v. Captec Franchise Trust 2000-1
11-2928, 11-3378
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey.
Civil. Affirms ruling in favor of the borrowers’ interpretation of the prepayment premium requirements in 12 loans involving restaurants and award of prejudgment interest to the borrowers. The borrowers’ position was supported by the evidence presented at trial, and the lender is not entitled to attorney fees.
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Opinions Aug. 2, 2012

August 2, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
N.B. v. State of Indiana
55A01-1111-JV-574
Juvenile. Affirms determination that N.B. committed the delinquent act of reckless homicide, a Class C felony if committed by an adult. N.B. contended that the juvenile court abused its discretion in admitting his statement to the investigating officer at the evidentiary hearing. Finds the procedural safeguards set forth in the juvenile waiver statute were met.
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Opinions Aug. 1, 2012

August 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Justin A. Staton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1112-CR-1192
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.
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Opinions July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Carol Aschermann v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al.
12-1230
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Affirms the District Court judgment in favor of the insurers, in which an insurer stopped paying a worker’s disability benefits claim, holding that the decision was not arbitrary or capricious.
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Opinions July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Winforge, Inc., et al., v. Coachmen Industries, Inc., et al.
10-3178
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms trial court judgment for defendants, agreeing that the parties had never entered into a final, enforceable contract.
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Opinions July 27, 201

July 27, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Leonard Lapsley, et al. v. Xtek Inc.
11-3313
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Affirms denial of Xtek’s Daubert motion that sought to bar Dr. Gary Hutter from offering his expert opinions, which were essential to Lapsley’s case that a design defect in Xtek’s equipment was the cause of his accident. In this case, the District Court’s stated analysis of the proposed testimony was brief, but it was also directly to the point and was sufficient to trigger deferential review on appeal. The District Court did not misapply Daubert.
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Opinions July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Michael J. Lock v. State of Indiana
35S04-1110-CR-622
Criminal. Affirms Lock’s conviction and sentence for Class D felony operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic violator and the revocation of his driving privileges for life. I.C. 9-30-10-16 is not unconstitutionally vague and based on the stipulation that Lock’s Zuma was traveling 43 MPH, a reasonable fact-finder could find beyond a reasonable doubt that the Zuma had a maximum design speed in excess of 25 MPH. Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Kenneth Dwayne Vaughn v. State of Indiana
45S05-1112-CR-684
Criminal. Affirms decision not to grant a mistrial. Vaughn did not suffer actual harm from the bailiff restraining him by covering Vaughn’s mouth in front of the jury so he would stop taking.
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Opinions July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jeffrey D. Kirkland v. United States of America
11-2507
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Reverses District Court’s conclusion that an enhancement of Kirkland’s sentence under the Armed Criminal Career Act was still appropriate based on his remaining three convictions for violent felonies. Court may only consider Shepard-approved sources in determining whether prior offenses occurred on separate occasions under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(e)(1). Based on the record, the appellate court can’t conclude that Kirkland’s robbery and burglary offenses – which were on the same day – occurred on separate occasions. Remands for resentencing.
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Opinions July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mark McCleskey, trustee, et al. v. DLF Construction Inc., an Indiana corporation
11-1826
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms finding that the construction company, as employer, had to contribute to the funds for all hours worked by members of the union, not just bargaining unit work. The collective bargaining agreements are clear that DLF is required to make contributions to the pension and health and welfare funds for each hour worked by a covered employee.
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Opinions July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bradley M. Shideler v. Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security
11-3284
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L.
Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The administrative law judge adequately evaluated Shideler’s credibility. Whatever his current condition is, the ALJ’s decision finding that he was not disabled as of March 31, 2000, is supported by substantial evidence.
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Opinions July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bobby A. Harlan v. State of Indiana
84A01-1110-CR-474
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed for two convictions of Class B felony child molesting and order that Harlan register as a sexually violent predator. The order requiring Harlan register as a SVP does not violate the ex post facto clause of the Indiana Constitution, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in the course of identifying aggravating and mitigating factors at sentencing, and his sentence is reasonable.
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Opinions July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Annette Pittman v. State of Indiana
49A02-1112-CR-1132
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication. I.C. 12-23-15-2 did not require the arresting officer, or other law enforcement personnel elsewhere, to perform an evaluation so thorough as to eliminate all other possible causes for each of the symptoms of alcoholic intoxication that Pittman exhibited.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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