Opinions

Opinions Jan. 30, 2015

January 30, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Anthony Bailey
13-3229
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Finds Bailey’s motion asking for a reduced sentence is best understood as a petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 for a sentence that was imposed contrary to the law. Based on Dorsey v. United States, Bailey should have been subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of only 10 years, instead of 20, after he pleaded guilty in 2011 to distributing crack cocaine. Remands for a new sentencing hearing.
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Opinions Jan. 29, 2015

January 29, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Ind., Consolidated City of Indianapolis/Marion Co., et al. v. El Rodeo #11, LLC
49A05-1406-MI-257
Miscellaneous. Vacates order that Marion County return El Rodeo’s seized funds that are being held in the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office. The trial court should have granted Marion County’s motion to dismiss its forfeiture complaint against El Rodeo because Tippecanoe County already had the funds. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Jan. 28, 2015

January 28, 2015
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday
United States of America v. Jeffrey P. Taylor
12-2916
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction. Finds double jeopardy does not bar his retrial on the charges of attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor using means of interstate commerce after his conviction of attempting to use facilities of interstate commerce to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor was overturned because the charges require proof of different elements. And because the judgment does not incorporate the SORNA ruling and the government has not filed a cross-appeal contesting that, there is nothing for the 7th Circuit to review on this issue. Affirms in all other respects.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2015

January 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Tiplick v. State of Indiana
Criminal. On interlocutory appeal, reverses denial of Tiplick’s motion to dismiss 11 of the 18 counts in an indictment against him alleging Class C felony charges of dealing in a lookalike substance and Class D felony possession of or dealing in a synthetic drug commonly referred to as spice. A divided panel held the statutes governing synthetic drug charges are unconstitutionally vague based on the definition of “synthetic drug” in I.C. § 35-31.5-2-321(9). Writing Judge Melissa May and concurring Judge James Kirsch held the trial court erred in failing to dismiss charges based on possession of a substance specified as a synthetic drug by a pharmacy board emergency rule but not specifically by statute. Dissenting Judge L. Mark Bailey would affirm the trial court, writing that laws and regulations were not so complex or overly broad as to preclude a person of ordinary intelligence from having notice of the criminal nature of the sale of XLR11 on the basis of vagueness. 
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2015

January 26, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curt Pearman d/b/a Greenwood Professional Park v. T. Ryan Jackson and Kristin M. Jackson
41A04-1408-CC-381
Civil collection. Affirms granting of partial summary judgment in favor of the Jacksons. Finds the Jacksons did not breach the terms of their lease agreement when they moved from their office five months after their initial three-year lease expired. Ruled the “clear and unambiguous terms of the lease agreement” allowed the Jacksons to continue to occupy the space on a monthly basis without having to sign another three-year lease.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2015

January 23, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Visteon Corp. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.
14-2725
Chief Judge Richard Young, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
Affirms judgment in favor of National Union on its denial of coverage for toxic chemical pollution at a Connersville Visteon auto parts factory that also contaminated neighboring properties. The District Court properly applied Michigan law, holding that Visteon was not entitled to coverage and dismissed the case. 
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Opinions Jan. 22, 2015

January 22, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Young v. Hood's Gardens, Inc.
29S02-1405-PL-314
Civil plenary.  Reverses summary judgment in favor of Hood’s Gardens that it had no secondary liability to pay workers’ compensation benefits to Jason Young, who was severely injured while removing a tree from Hood’s Gardens’ property. The "value" that triggers secondary liability under Indiana Code 22-3-2-14(b) may include the value of other property transferred in connection with the performance of services and the designated evidence shows that the contract Hood’s Gardens entered into with the tree removal company may have been more than $1,000 once the value of firewood is considered.
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Opinions Jan. 21, 2015

January 21, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Sandra Elaine Lappin v. Anthony Alex Timmerman (NFP)
86A03-1407-PL-229
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Timmerman on his motion to dismiss Lappin’s complaint that he not be allowed to participate in an HVAC business in violation of the parties’ covenant not to compete. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2015

January 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeri Good v. Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund
25A03-1408-MI-278
Miscellaneous. Affirms determination that Good was entitled to only six months of retroactive benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System instead of a full year as Good sought. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to six months of retroactive retirement benefits. Rejects Good’s claims that she is entitled to additional retroactive benefits based on the theories of equitable estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2015

January 19, 2015
The state and federal courts are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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Opinions Jan. 16, 2015

January 16, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jeffrey A. Cleary v. State of Indiana
45S03-1404-CR-295
Criminal. Affirms multiple convictions and a 14-year sentence in a fatal drunken-driving crash imposed when Cleary was retried after a first jury deadlocked on greater criminal charges and convicted Cleary on misdemeanor and infraction counts. Justices found no statutory or constitutional double-jeopardy violations.
 
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Opinions Jan. 15, 2014

January 15, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Paul Brown v. State of Indiana
32A01-1405-CR-194
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft. Finds trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to a portion of Brown’s videotaped interview with a detective as hearsay and for not tendering a jury instruction on criminal conversion as a lesser-included offense.
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Opinions Jan. 14, 2015

January 14, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dwan Rashid Taylor
14-1981
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress drugs and guns found by police in Taylor’s storage locker pursuant to a search warrant. The police learned of the storage location using a GPS unit that it attached to Taylor’s car without a warrant in 2011, a year before the Supreme Court of the United States held that attaching a GPS device to a car for purposes of gathering information was a search under the Fourth Amendment. Because the officers used the GPS monitor in objectively reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent in effect at that time, the suppression motion was properly denied.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2015

January 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel, P.C. v. Adpoint, Inc., Joel Hall, and Mary Hall
49A02-1406-CC-430
Collections. Affirms trial court denial of Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel’s motion for summary judgment and reverses the grant of Adpoint’s motion for summary judgment and order that the amount of legal fees owed by Adpoint to the law firm was $11,085.50. The court erred in granting summary judgment to Adpoint based on res judicata and collateral estoppel. Remands to the trial court to determine the amount Adpoint owes TBV for its representation in underlying litigation.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2015

January 12, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Anderson, Comm., Joe Wray, Comm., and Board of Trustees, Brown Co. Fire. Prot. Dist. v. Susanne Gaudin, Janet Kramer, And Ruth Reichmann
07A01-1406-PL-265
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order invalidating the Brown County commissioners’ amendment of an ordinance creating a countywide fire district. In creating the district, the commissioners expressly granted it and its board of trustees the powers and authority enumerated in the ordinance, thereby relinquishing power to amend the ordinance.
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Opinions Jan. 9, 2015

January 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Sheckles v. State of Indiana
10A04-1405-CR-204
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and adjudication of Sheckles as a habitual substance offender. Sheckles was not deprived of his right to a speedy trial under Criminal Rule 4(C), the trial court did not err when it denied Sheckles’ request for disclosure of a confidential informant’s identity, nor were Sheckles’ confrontation rights violated. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted into evidence a police video recording of the controlled buy.
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Opinions Jan. 8, 2015

January 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Daniel P. Minnick v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
13-3626
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses judgment of the District Court upholding the acting commissioner’s decision to deny benefits to Minnick and remands for further proceedings. The administrative law judge did not fully develop the record before drawing any conclusions and did not adequately articulate her analysis so that the appellate court could follow her reasoning.
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Opinions Jan. 7, 2015

January 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Mental Health Proceedings of B.M. v. Indiana University Health Hospital
53A04-1405-MH-210
Mental health. Affirms order involuntarily committing B.M. to a mental health facility. The trial court’s finding that B.M. is a danger to others is supported by sufficient evidence. Judge Riley dissents with opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2015

January 6, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, Inc. v. Elizabeth Bridgewater o/b/o Alyssa Bridgewater
93S02-1310-EX-704
Civil. Vacates the final order from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission regarding a dispute over a dinner menu. The commission had found that the Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society Inc. did not discriminate against Bridgewater when it did not provide a special meal for her daughter who suffered from food allergies. However, the commission did rule that FACES did commit an unlawful discriminatory practice when it expelled the Bridgewater family from the group after they filed the disability discrimination complaint. The Supreme Court concluded because the activities of FACES fell outside education, the commission lacked the statutory authority to take any action other than the dismissal of these claims. Remands with instructions to grant the motion to dismiss filed by FACES on both claims. Justice Robert Rucker dissented, maintaining the commission does have the authority to act on the retaliation claim.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2015

January 5, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
State Farm Life Insurance Co. v. Troy Jonas et al.
14-1464
Civil tort. Vacates judgment of District Court and remands with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Finds no justiciable controversy existed when Jonas filed his lawsuit against State Farm. Concluded that the disputes about the rate of interest and whether the insurance company must pay the attorney fees that Jonas has incurred in this litigation do not retroactively create jurisdiction.
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Opinions Dec. 31, 2014

December 31, 2014
Indiana Court Appeals
Alfredo D. Rodriguez, as Permanent Guardian of the Person and Estate of Miriam Rodriguez, and Alfredo D. Rodriguez, Individually v. United States Steel Corporation
45A04-1407-CT-350
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of U.S. Steel on Alfredo Rodriguez’s negligence claim. Miriam Rodriguez was injured in an auto accident caused by an employee of U.S. Steel as he drove home from work. U.S. Steel did not owe Miriam Rodriguez a duty of reasonable care.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2014

December 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Hewitt v. Westfield Washington School Corp; Board of School Trusties of Westfield Washington School Corp. et al.
29A04-1403-PL-130
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Westfield Washington School Corp. and related defendants, holding they had not met the onerous burden of showing there are no issues of material fact entitling them to judgment as a matter of law. Hewitt, a former school principal, was fired for a sexual relationship with a teacher he supervised. He then sued the school system for breach of contract and denial of due process. His suit is remanded for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2014

December 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles P. White v. State of Indiana

29A05-1312-PC-641
Post conviction. Affirms White’s convictions for perjury, voting in the wrong precinct and theft. Finds White was convicted twice for the same actions in violation of double jeopardy. Reverses White’s other convictions for perjury and voting in the wrong precinct as well as another perjury conviction for putting the wrong address on his marriage license application. Remands with instructions that the trial court vacate those three convictions. Concludes White’s attorney, Carl Brizzi, was not ineffective. Holds White’s sentence to one-year of home detention remains.
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Opinions Dec. 24, 2014

December 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lloyd G. Perry v. Anonymous Physican 1, Alias Medical Group 1, Inc., Anonymous Physican 2, et al.
02A03-1401-CT-43
Civil Tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers. Finds Perry did not submit expert testimony as required by court rules to support his medical malpractice claim.  
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Opinions Dec. 23, 2014

December 23, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re the Adoption of B.C.H.
41S04-1408-AD-515
Adoption. Vacates the trial court’s decision to grant stepfather’s petition to adopt B.C.H. and remands for a hearing on the child’s best interests in the adoption and other proceedings consistent with this opinion. At this hearing, the grandparents, who had primary custody of B.C.H. for the first four years of her life, shall be given the opportunity to give or withhold consent to the child’s adoption. They were not served with legal notice of the adoption.
 
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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