Opinions

Opinions Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Holland, A Concerned Citizen for the Redevelopment of Gary v. Richard Steele, Barbara Steele, First Midwest Bank, As Successor Trustee By Way of Merger to Bank Calumet, N.A., et al.
45A03-1102-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Holland was not entitled to summary judgment on his quiet title claim, and grant of summary judgment to the bank on its trespass and slander of title claims. The trial court properly found that Holland had filed a frivolous lawsuit and awarded appropriate attorney fees. On cross-appeal, the appellate court denied the bank’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2012

January 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services
93A02-1107-EX-604
Agency appeal. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and wasn’t entitled to ongoing palliative care. Reeves failed to identify what type of care he should receive and the undisputed evidence does not show that palliative care limits the extent of his impairment.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Long v. State of Indiana
49A02-1105-CR-381
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Because the master commissioner presided at Long’s guilty plea hearing, and not at a criminal trial, she did not have the authority to enter a final judgment on Long’s sentence. Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown did not err by rejecting the master commissioner’s sentence and imposing her own sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2012

January 24, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Antoine Hill v. State of Indiana
45S03-1105-PC-283
Post conviction. Holds that the appropriate standard for judging the performance of Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel is the standard set forth in Baum v. State. Further holds that Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel in this case did not violate Baum because she represented the defendant in a procedurally fair setting which resulted in a judgment of the court. Justice Sullivan concurs with separate opinion; Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2012

January 20, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Dept. of Insurance, Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Robin Everhart, Personal Rep. of the Estate of James K. Everhart, Jr.
84S01-1105-CV-282
Civil. Affirms award of statutory maximum of $1 million in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund to Robin Everhart. Does not see any grounds on which to reduce the trial court’s award of $1 million in excess damages, so deciding whether to extend or halt Cahoon’s advance would seem unnecessary at best. The fund was not entitled to a set-off.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2012

January 19, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Chrysler Group, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.A., et al.
93S02-1109-EX-565
Agency appeal. Affirms award of benefits to Chrysler employees offered a buyout. By Chrysler’s own words — to Congress and its own employees — Enhanced Voluntary Termination of Employment Program was part of a company-wide effort intended to avert twenty-nine manufacturing plant closures, twenty-two parts depot closures, and 53,000 layoffs. The board’s conclusion on this issue of ultimate fact was reasonable.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2012

January 18, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
A.T. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1201-JV-26
Juvenile. Reverses trial court’s dispositional order and remands with instructions to vacate that portion of its order committing A.T. to the Department of Correction until his 18th birthday. Because A.T. does not meet the criteria of Indiana Code 31-37-19-9(b), a determinate commitment under that section may not be imposed.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2012

January 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lebamoff Enterprises v. Alex Hurley, in his official capacity as chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
11-1362
Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District judge’s grant of summary judgment for the state defendants, ruling against a Fort Wayne area wine retailer’s constitutional challenge to a state law that prevents retailers from shipping wine to consumers via a motor carrier. The appellate panel found that the state statute is not preempted by federal law. Judge David Hamilton issued a separate concurring opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2012

January 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kevin Harris v. Warrick County Sheriff’s Department
10-3706
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s entry of summary judgment for the sheriff’s department in a case where a deputy sheriff’s probationary employment was terminated based on violations of standard operating procedures, failure to follow orders and insufficient commitment to the job. Harris’s circumstantial evidence of discrimination falls far short of supporting an inference that he was terminated because of his race.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2012

January 12, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Redmond and Charles Avery Jr.
10-1947, 10-3914
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms denial of Avery’s request to withdraw his guilty plea to crack cocaine distribution, the calculation of the crack cocaine quantity attributed to him and his sentence. Remands for the District Court to reconsider Redmond’s sentence following a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base in light of United States v. Corner.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2012

January 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Daniel E. Serban v. State of Indiana
02A03-1106-CR-285
Criminal. Declines to revise Serban’s 11-year sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony corrupt business influence and Class D felony theft. Serban failed to demonstrate his sentence is inappropriate, and his stealing from his clients injured not only them, but also the legal profession.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2012

January 10, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Sarah Haag, Gordon Haag and Cathy Haag; Molly Kruger, William Kruger, III, and Katherine F. Kruger, et al. v. Mark Castro, The Indiana Youth Soccer Association, Virginia Surety Company, Inc., et al.
29S04-1102-CT-118
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Virginia Surety, the insurer of Indiana Youth Soccer Association, in a lawsuit brought by injured players seeking a declaration that the insurer provide coverage for an accident involving a Carmel youth soccer team while they were in Colorado. Because the van in which players were traveling when the accident occurred was not being used in the business of the association – a condition for coverage under the governing association’s business auto-insurance policy at issue – the injured players may not recover. Justice Dickson dissents; Justice David did not participate.
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Opinins Jan. 9, 2012

January 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Javon L. Bonner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1107-CR-330
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class A felony dealing in cocaine and convictions for Class C felony operating a vehicle with a lifetime suspension and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2012

January 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Woodson v. State of Indiana
49A05-1106-CR-306
Criminal. Reverses two fraud convictions on grounds that trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress evidence, finding that the evidence was improperly seized after a search without adequate reasonable suspicion.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2012

January 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John C. Cole, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1102-PC-67
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions Jan. 4, 2012

January 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Estate of Florian T. Latek; Nicholas G. Grapsas, et al. v. Gerald Ronneau
64A05-1103-ES-112
Estate, supervised. Affirms denial of Grapsas and Padezan’s challenge to the trial court order denying their motion to dismiss a petition for probate of will and for issuance of letters testamentary filed in the Porter Superior Court and a separate order admitting to probate the last will and testament of Florian Latek. Indiana adheres to the majority rule, and under that rule, the Illinois court’s denial of Latek’s will to probate because it failed to comply with that state’s statutory execution requirements has no effect on the subsequent admission and probate of Latek’s will in Indiana as it concerns the disposition of real property located in Indiana.
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Opinions Jan. 3, 2012

January 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States v. Jason Smith
Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. U.S. Judge Robert Miller, Jr.
11-2016
Criminal. Affirms District Court’s denial of motion to suppress evidence and motion for acquittal for a man convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing crack cocaine with intent to deliver and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. The court rejected arguments that Jason Smith didn’t commit a traffic infraction and that the government constructively amended his indictment about when the traffic stop occurred.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2011

December 30, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeremy L. Peters v. State of Indiana
43A05-1103-CR-144
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, holding that the use of Peters’ post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence during the state’s case-in-chief was not fundamental error because the evidence of his guilt was strong, the references to his silence were brief, and the references came amidst the narrative explaining the events after the crime.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2011

December 29, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Economic Freedom Fund, FreeEats.com, Inc., Meridian Pacific, Inc., and John Does 3-10
07S00-1008-MI-411
Miscellaneous. Reverses trial court’s grant of preliminary injunction in favor of FreeEats, holding that the court erred in finding FreeEats had a reasonable likelihood of success on its claim that the live-operator provision of the Indiana Autodialer Law violates Article 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution. Remands for further proceedings. Justice Frank Sullivan dissented, writing that the application of the live-operator requirement in the present case imposes a material burden on political speech in violation of Art. I, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, and that the application of this requirement violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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Opinions Dec. 28, 2011

December 28, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. George Pabey
11-2046
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Criminal. Affirms Pabey’s convictions of conspiring to embezzle government funds and embezzling government funds and sentence of 60 months in prison, along with a $60,000 fine, $14,000 in restitution, and three years of supervised release. The District Court did not abuse its discretion by permitting the jury to receive the conscious avoidance instruction. The sentence enhancements were appropriate and the District Court provided adequate support for its upward departure of his sentence.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2011

December 27, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
ATA Airlines Inc. v. Federal Express Corp.
11-1382, 11-1492
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young
Civil. Reverses $66 million jury award in favor of ATA against FedEx for breach of contract. ATA’s breach of contract claim should never have been permitted to go to trial because the letter agreement between the two parties was not an enforceable contract. In addition, ATA’s expert’s testimony on regression analysis never should have been allowed to be put before a jury.
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Opinions Dec. 22, 2011

December 22, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
M.B., by his parents and next friends, Damian Berns and Amy Berns v. Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Hamilton-Boone-Madison Special Services
10-3096
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the schools on the Berns’ suit that the schools violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the provisions relating to special education in the Indiana Administrative Code by failing to provide M.B. with a free appropriate public education. There was nothing unreasonable about the determination by the hearing officer, the Board of Special Education Appeals, and the District Court in finding that M.B. was making progress under his individualized education program. The Berns are also not entitled to reimbursement for the costs to place M.B. in a learning center or for attorney fees.
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Opinions Dec. 21, 2011

December 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hans Maldonado v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A05-1104-CR-231
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
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Opinions Dec. 20, 2011

December 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher A. Bryant v. State of Indiana
45A03-1101-CR-11
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for two counts of Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, Class A misdemeanor marijuana possession and Bryant’s admission that he is a habitual substance offender, holding that his extensive arrest record renders harmless any error the trial court may have made.
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Opinions Dec. 19, 2011

December 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Capitol Construction Services, Inc. v. Amy Gray, as Personal Rep. of the Estateof Clinton Gray and All One, Inc.
49A04-1005-CT-289
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Gray’s estate, holding that per terms of the contract, Capitol Construction was obligated to provide fall protection for all subcontractors.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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