Opinions

Opinions April 5, 2013

April 5, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Daniel Ray Wilkes v. State of Indiana
10S00-1004-PD-185
Post Conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief from a sentence of life without parole for conviction of three murders, concluding that Wilkes did not meet his burden of proof on arguments that he was deprived of his rights to an impartial jury and effective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Betty M. Jordan and Theodore R. Jordan v. Kelly D. Binns and U.S. Xpress Inc.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Binns and his employer U.S. Xpress on the Jordans’ lawsuit filed after Betty Jordan lost both of her legs while riding a motorcycle and being hit by the tractor-trailer driven by Binns. Rejects claims on appeal that improperly admitted hearsay evidence warrants a new trial. The court found that some hearsay evidence regarding Betty Jordan’s statement that she was at fault in a motorcycle accident was improperly admitted, but it was cumulative, and other evidence presented at trial strongly favored the defendants’ position.
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Opinions April 3, 2013

April 3, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert Lee Baker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A01-1210-CR-490
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in a narcotic drug.
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Opinions April 2, 2013

April 2, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Koransky, Bouwer & Poracky P.C. v. The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co.
12-1579
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Judge William C. Lee.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for The Bar Plan and the denial of Koransky Bower & Poracky’s motion for summary judgment on whether The Bar Plan had to represent the law firm or indemnify it on a client’s malpractice claim. The law firm’s knowledge of the email exchange with the seller’s counsel in February and the Alabama declaratory judgment action filed March 14 constituted knowledge of “any circumstance, act or omission that might reasonably be expected to be the basis of” a malpractice claim by the firm’s client. The firm did not notify The Bar Plan in a timely manner.
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Opinions April 1, 2013

April 1, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roche Diagnostics Operations, Inc. v. Marsh Supermarkets, LLC
29A02-1201-PL-4
Civil plenary. Affirms judgment in favor of Marsh Supermarkets. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Marsh damages based on Roche’s rental obligation under the 18-year term of the sublease after Roche terminated it over a subordination non-disturbance and attornment agreement. Judge Crone dissents.
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Opinions March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Phillip Jackson and Deborah Jackson v. Bank of America Corp., et al.
12-3338
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of the Jacksons’ action to quiet title and claims that all or some of the defendants negligently evaluated the Jacksons’ ability to repay the loan and that the loan contract was substantively and procedurally unconscionable. The Jacksons can’t show that the institutions actually owed them a duty, and they failed to allege facts that would support any unconscionability determination in Indiana.

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Opinions March 28, 2013

March 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of G.P., and J.A. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services

49A02-1208-JT-643
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. Mother J.A.’s due process rights were not violated, and there was sufficient evidence to support the termination.
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Opinions March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terrence J. Fuqua v. State of Indiana
02A03-1207-CR-342
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Class D felonies possession of a controlled substance and dealing in marijuana, and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. The investigating detectives had reasonable suspicion to search Fuqua’s trash, and the subsequent search warrant was supported by probable cause. The trial court acted within its discretion when it admitted evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant.
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Opinions March 26, 2013

March 26, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Teresa Meredith, et al. v. Mike Pence, et al.
Civil plenary/school vouchers. Affirms constitutionality of Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program, affirming a trial court’s grant of summary judgment for state defendants in a suit in which plaintiffs claimed the voucher program violated state Constitution provisions on education and religious liberties. The court held that the voucher plan is within the Legislature’s power under Article 8, Section 1, and that the enacted program does not violate either Section 4 or Section 6 of Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Opinions March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Maria Upham, as Surviving Spouse and Personal Rep. of the Estate of Wilbur A. Upham, Deceased v. Morgan County Hospital, Richard J. Eisenhut, M.D., Unity Physicians, Kendrick Family Practice, et al.
55A01-1202-CT-53
Civil tort/malpractice. Affirms jury verdict in favor of the hospital, holding that Upham’s counsel failed to request an admonishment and therefore waived the argument that the court should have declared a mistrial because of a prospective juror’s comments that plaintiff’s counsel was motivated by money. There was no abuse of discretion in jury instructions or in the court’s limiting of discovery. 
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Opinions March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
F.G. v. B.G. (NFP)
49A05-1210-DR-506
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s denial of father F.G.’s motion to set aside decree establishing paternity and for DNA testing regarding paternity of one of his children.
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Opinions March 21, 2013

March 21, 2013
Todd J. Crider v. State of Indiana
91S05-1206-CR-306
Criminal. Reverses in part the sentencing order that Crider’s habitual offender enhancement in a White County case be served consecutively to the habitual offender enhancement in a case from Tippecanoe County. Concludes that the waiver of the right to appeal contained in the plea agreement is unenforceable where the sentence imposed is contrary to law and the defendant did not bargain for the sentence.
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Opinions March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. I.T.
20A03-1202-JV-76
Juvenile. Dismisses state’s appeal from the juvenile court’s order rescinding its prior approval of a delinquency petition filed against I.T. Concludes sua sponte that the state is without authority to appeal a juvenile court’s order withdrawing its approval of the filing of a delinquency petition.
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Opinions March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Frontier Insurance Company v. J. Roe Hitchcock, Timothy S. Durham and Terry G. Whitesell
11-3510
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms order the guarantors Hitchcock, Durham and Whitesell deposit with the clerk more than $1.5 million regarding a surety bond issued by Frontier Insurance. The guarantors must keep their promise to post collateral on Frontier’s demand.
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Opinions March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carmeuse Lime & Stone and Carmeuse Lime, Inc. v. Illini State Trucking, Inc.
45A03-1211-CC-462
Civil collection. Affirms the trial court order dismissing Carmeuse Lime & Stone’s and Carmeuse Lime Inc.’s complaint in favor of Illini State Trucking, Inc. regarding indemnification. Illini did not waive its ability to raise the forum selection clause with the court.
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Opinions March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Meriwether v. State of Indiana
49A02-1208-CR-676
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana and Class D felony possession of paraphernalia. The trial court did not commit fundamental error when it admitted Meriwether’s statement into evidence because he was not in custody when he made it.
 
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Opinions March 14, 2013

March 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Bowser v. State of Indiana

71A03-1208-CR-361
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class C felony battery by means of a deadly weapon. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Bowser’s motion for severance and there is sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions.
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Opinions March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kelly S. Thomas v. Dushan Zatecky, superintendent, Pendleton Correctional Facility
13-1136
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Denies Thomas’ request that he be allowed collateral relief to file appeals without regard to the fees required by Section 1913 and the resolutions of the Judicial Conference. Gives Thomas 21 days to file in the 7th Circuit a motion for permission to proceed in forma pauperis and a certificate of appealability. Failure to meet this schedule will result in dismissal for failure to prosecute.

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Opinions March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Curtis A. Bethea v. State of Indiana
18S05-1206-PC-304
Post conviction. Affirms trial court denial of post-conviction relief, holding that Curtis Bethea, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and criminal confinement in a deal that dropped seven other felony counts, was not improperly denied post-conviction relief when a judge considered evidence of charges that were dismissed.

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Opinions March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bay Colony Civic Corporation v. Pearl Gasper Trust and Bruce F. Waller
49A05-1207-PL-365
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court ruling in favor of Gasper and Waller, holding that a public easement to a reservoir also grants access to the water and not just to the land adjacent to the water, and that a neighborhood association did not violate its bylaws by spending money to improve access to the lake for residents. Remands to the trial court to grant the association’s motion for partial summary judgment.
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Opinions March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Supervised Estate of Evelyn Garrard; Ronald Garrard v. Debra L. Teibel and Douglas Grimmer and Debra Lindsay
45A03-1111-PL-547
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgments in favor of Teibel, Grimmer and Lindsay, holding that Garrard had waived all issues on appeal and failed to show an issue of material fact existed. The court also warned Garrard about language in pleadings that disparaged other parties to the litigation and the bench.

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Opinions March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: Visitation M.L.B.: K.J.R. v. M.A.B.
41S01-1209-MI-556
Miscellaneous. Rules despite the trial court’s ample “best interests” findings, the lack of findings on the other three factors, both standing alone and as compounded by the extensive visitation awarded without those necessary findings, violates Mother’s fundamental right to direct M.L.B.’s upbringing. Remands for a new entry of findings and conclusions revealing the court’s consideration of all four McCune/K.I. factors, without a new hearing.
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Opinions March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. Amco Insurance Company
33S01-1206-CT-312
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Amco Insurance Co. on its motion for declaratory judgment to enforce its reading of the insurance contract with the hotel disclaiming coverage for, and its duty to defend against, a civil complaint brought by a motel guest molested by an off-duty motel employee. The facts of the case reflect precisely the sort of scenario contemplated by the parties to be excluded from coverage when they agreed to the insurance contract. Chief Justice Dickson concurs and Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Williams, Jr. v. State of Indiana
30A01-1207-CR-305
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B felonies burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. Williams’ trial counsel’s performance was deficient by failing to object under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) to the admission of evidence of William’s previous bad acts and convictions. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Choice Management Services Inc., et al.
12-3308
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms $600,000 sanction against SonCo for contempt of court by not following a court order. The $600,000 is actually a gross understatement of the harm caused by SonCo’s contempt for failing to take over operation of Alco’s wells within 90 days as ordered.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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