Opinions

Opinions Oct. 6, 2011

October 6, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Putnam County Sheriff v. Pamela Price
60S01-1012-CV-665
Civil. Reverses trial court’s denial of the Putnam County Sheriff’s motion to dismiss Price’s negligence action for failure to state a claim. A county sheriff’s department that neither owns, maintains or controls a county road does not owe a common law duty to warn the public of known hazardous conditions upon the roadway. Justices David and Dickson concur in result.
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Opinions Oct. 5, 2011

October 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
P.J. v. State of Indiana

49A05-1102-JV-121
Juvenile. Affirms restitution order following adjudication, after a guilty plea, as a delinquent child for committing what would be Class B felony burglary if committed by an adult. P.J. waived his right to have the juvenile court inquire into his ability to pay, as he has acknowledged such ability in his plea agreement.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Saba Tesfamariam v. Moghes Woldehaimanot
49A02-1009-DR-1050
Domestic relation. Affirms decree of dissolution of marriage, which awarded father Moghes Woldehaimanot full custody of the minor children. The trial court abused its discretion by failing to establish that mother Saba Tesfamariam’s interpreter was qualified and by failing to administer an oath to the interpreter to provide an accurate translation. The failure to establish the qualifications or to administer an oath is not a fundamental error, and the trial court’s errors in the instant case were not fundamental.

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Opinions Oct. 3, 2011

October 3, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kristine P. Purcell v. Bank of America
10-3975
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Purcell’s common-law claims against the bank without prejudice to allow her to refile in state court. Remands with instructions to enter judgment for the bank on all of Purcell’s state and federal claims. Section 1681t(b)(1)(F) and Section 16811h(e)of 15 U.S.C. are compatible, and Section 1681(t)(b) would preempt Purcell’s state-law theories.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2011

September 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Franklin Electric Company, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
93S02-1102-EX-89
Agency appeal. Affirms determination of the liability administrative law judge that Franklin Electric Co. and its two newly created entities Franklin Electric Manufacturing and Franklin Electric Sales are a single employer. The manufacturing and sales entities did not acquire a distinct and segregable portion of Franklin Electric’s business, so they did not qualify as “employers” under the laws governing Indiana’s unemployment compensation arrangements.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2011

September 29, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cedar Farm, Harrison County Inc. v. Louisville Gas and Electric Co.
10-2234
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Louisville Gas and Electric on Cedar Farm’s attempt to eject Louisville Gas and Electric from its property and to terminate an oil and gas lease for violations of certain portions of the lease. The lease allows for a damages remedy and Cedar Farm hasn’t show that damages are inadequate to compensate for the harm to its property.

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Opinions Sept. 28, 2011

September 28, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Desmond Turner v. State of Indiana
49S00-0912-CR-565
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder, criminal confinement, robbery and burglary, and the sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder convictions, plus a term of years for the other convictions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting firearms and tool mark examiner Michael Putzek’s testimony, and the admission of challenged testimony did not violate Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b). The trial court erred in admitting testimony on a statement made by Turner’s mother, but that does not require reversal.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2011

September 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.B.; E.B. v. IDCS (NFP)
79A05-1102-JT-102
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2011

September 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angela K. Farno v. Ansure Mortuaries of Indiana, LLC, et al.
41A05-1002-PL-104
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Farno’s motion for class certification on superiority grounds regarding the alleged looting of cemetery trusts that had been funded from proceeds of purchases of pre-need burial services. The trial court did not err in finding the receiver’s action provided a superior method to recovery any of the missing trust funds.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2011

September 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Corrine R. Finnerty, as Successor Personal Representaive of the Estate of Dora Grace Lee, deceased v. Joseph A. Colussi and the Colussi Law Office
39A01-1011-ES-622
Estate, supervised. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Joseph Colussi and Colussi Law Office on legal malpractice claim, holding that genuine issues of material fact exist and preclude such judgment. Remands for proceedings consistent with opinion. 
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2011

September 22, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
An-Hung Yao and Yu-Ting Lin v. State of Indiana
35A02-1006-CR-678
Criminal. Affirms order dismissing the Class D felony counterfeiting charges against Yao and Lin and reverses the denial of their motion to dismiss counts of Class D felony theft and Class C felony corrupt business influence. The trial court lacked territorial jurisdiction because there is no evidence any conduct that is an element of the alleged offenses occurred in Indiana. Remands for the trial court to dismiss the remaining charges.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2011

September 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George W. Giltner, Jr. v. Betty L. Ivers, Martin Zacharias, Jr., and Bradi L. Zacharias
10A05-1010-PL-662
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s confirmation of a report that partitioned 16.5 acres of a 100-acre parcel to Giltner, who owned an undivided 20 percent interest in the parcel. Giltner has not shown that he was prejudiced by the division outlined in the report.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2011

September 20, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Rod L. Avery and Marshall K. Avery v. Trina R. Avery
49S05-1102-PL-76
Civil plenary. Affirms default judgment entered against Rod and Marshall Avery. The Indiana Trial Rules apply to will contest actions, and the failure to file an answer or responsive pleading in accordance with Trial Rule 7 may result in a default judgment.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2011

September 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Haegert v. Margaret McMullan
82A04-1008-CT-470
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Margaret McMullan in John Haegert’s action alleging defamation, tortious breach of his employment contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Haegert failed to show how he was injured by the contents of McMullan’s file as his termination was based only upon an incident involving McMullan. There is not properly designated evidence in the record that McMullan intended to cause Haegert emotional distress.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2011

September 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jon Paul Tongate v. State of Indian
a
29A02-1102-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property. The magistrate that presided over Tongate’s jury trial was not required to rule on the motion to correct error, and Tongate’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.
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Opinions Sept. 15, 2011

September 15, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cheryl A. Burns v. Orthoteck Inc. Employees’ Pension Plan and Trust, et al.
10-1521
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms finding that Cheryl Burns’ consent to designate her husband’s three sons as beneficiaries was valid and affirms the denial of her claim for benefits. The unusual circumstances of the case lead to the conclusion that the pension plan was within its discretion to find that Dr. Burns, as plan representative, verified the authenticity of his wife’s signature on the written consent form and this satisfied 29 U.S.C. 1055’s witness requirement. The plan was also within its discretion to deny Burns’ claim for benefits.
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Opinions Sept. 14, 2011

September 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kenneth Dwayne Vaughn v. State of Indiana
45A05-1102-CR-57
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s denial of motion for mistrial, holding that restraining the defendant in the presence of the jury could have influenced the jury’s verdict.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2011

September 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Yasin Hory v. State of Indiana
01A04-1011-IF-717
Infraction. Affirms conviction of Class C infraction illegal parking, holding that Hory failed to establish an express or implied pre-emption of local traffic safety laws by federal motor safety regulations.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2011

September 12, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kevin B. Arnett v. Thomas A. Webster, M.D., et al.
09-3280
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of the non-medical defendants from Arnett’s Bivens action for cruel and unusual punishment while he was in prison. Finds Arnett properly stated a claim against the medical defendants Beighley, Dr. Wilson, and Paul-Blanc and reverses dismissal with regards to those three. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Dr. Webster because Arnett failed to meet his burden to submit evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find that the doctor acted with deliberate indifference. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2011

September 9, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Autumn Eaton v. Indiana Department of Corrections, Pendleton Juvenile Corrections Facility

10-3214
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Reverses judgment of the District Court, finding that sufficient evidence exists to preclude summary judgment in favor of Eaton’s employer, the Indiana Department of Corrections, in her Title VII discrimination claim. Remands to the court for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
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Opinions Sept. 8, 2011

September 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cathy Minix, et al. v. Sheriff Frank Canarecci, Jr., et al.
71A04-1009-CT-591
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Canarecci on Minix’s wrongful death claim and affirms denial of the medical providers’ motion for summary judgment in Minix’s wrongful death claim and medical malpractice claim. Minix’s Child Wrongful Death Statute claim against the sheriff isn’t barred by the doctrine of res judicata, and an award of damages on both the federal and state claims at issue won’t result in double recovery.
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Opinions Sept. 7, 2011

September 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher A. Andrews v. Sara L. Ivie
55A01-1103-PO-110
Protective order. Affirms issuance of a protective order in favor of Ivie. Andrews engaged in a knowing or an intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of Ivie that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened.
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Opinions Sept. 6, 2011

September 6, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jeffrey William Paul v. Helen J. Marberry, et al.
10-3670
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses District Court’s denial of Paul’s motion to be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis on the grounds that he had three strikes and remands for further proceedings. Since most prisoners litigate their civil claims pro se, they should not be required to speculate on the grounds the judge could or even should have based the dismissal on. Classifying a strike depends on the grounds given for it.
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Opinions Sept. 2, 2011

September 2, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gary Williams and Nancy Meehan v. Rohm and Haas Pension Plan
10-1978, 10-2175, 10-3713
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms $180 million settlement and approval of $43.5 million in attorney fees. The District Court adequately addressed the expected value of the early retirees’ claims. The District Court did not abuse its discretion by not creating a separately represented subclass of early retirees. The 7th Circuit sees no reason to disturb the District Court’s assessment of attorney fees.
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Opinions Sept. 1, 2011

September 1, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark E. Croy v. State of Indiana
48A02-1012-CR-1383
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony domestic battery and sentence imposed for that conviction and for Class D felony criminal confinement. The evidence is sufficient to show that Croy and Betty Cox had a spousal relationship at the time Croy attacked his ex-girlfriend. The sentence is appropriate.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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