Opinions

Opinions Nov. 7, 2011

November 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jessica J. Jelinek v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security
10-3340
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment of an administrative law judge that Jelinek’s collective mental and physical impairments were severe but not disabling. Reverses and remands for further proceedings on mother’s request for supplemental security income for daughter.
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Opinions Nov. 4, 2011

November 4, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Perkins v. Jayco, Inc.
93A02-1104-EX-361
Miscellaneous. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s affirmation of a single hearing member, who had concluded that Perkins’ employer is not responsible for providing palliative care to Perkins. Holds that the board erred in concluding that a finding that Perkins had reached maximum medical improvement allows for an inference that future treatment is not needed, but held that the error was harmless as a doctor’s report indicated future medical treatments would not be causally related to Perkins’ work injury.
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Opinions Nov. 3, 2011

November 3, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Dodd and Katherine Dodd v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company
12A02-1010-CT-1414
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part summary judgment for American Family. There are disputes of material fact as to whether American Family effectively rescinded the policy and if it did not, whether it breached the policy by denying the Dodds’ claims. The trial court did not err by granting American Family’s motion for summary judgment on the claims for punitive damages and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 2, 2011

November 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Monte Murphy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1009-CR-1040
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of receiving a ballot, entered as Class A misdemeanors.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2011

November 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rose Acre Farms Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co. and National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford
11-1599
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the insurers on whether they have to defend Rose Acre Farms in the antitrust complaint. The suit for which Rose Acre wants a defense makes no claim that the policy could be thought to cover.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2011

October 31, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas J. Ostrowski and Phyllis Ostrowski v. Everest Healthcare Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Merrillville Dialysis Center, and Family Mobile Medical Services, Inc.
45A03-1012-CT-645
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of defendants Everest Healthcare Indiana and Family Mobile Medical Services on Thomas Ostrowski’s suit for negligence against the building owner and the EMT’s employer after he was injured by a door opening and hitting his hand. The trial court did not err in giving the sudden emergency instruction or in permitting the defendants’ expert witness to testify. The lay witness did not improperly testify as an expert witness. 
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Opinions Oct. 28, 2011

October 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Gillespie, Dawn Gillespie and Rick's Towing and Maintenance, LLC v. Frank B. Niles and Kathryn Niles
49A05-1102-CT-70
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Gillespies’ objection to the Nileses’ request for a pre-trial conference and refusal to dismiss the action under Indiana Trial Rule 41(E). Affirms grant of summary judgment for the Niles and denial of summary judgment for the Gillespies. The Gillespies failed to wait the required 15 days before selling Kathryn’s vehicle at auction. The trial court erred by granting summary judgment against the Gillespies individually as the judgment should be against Rick’s Towing only.
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Opinions Oct. 27, 2011

October 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joey Jennings v. State of Indiana
53A01-1010-CR-541
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. The state presented sufficient evidence to prove that he was the person who damaged another man’s truck. Reverses his sentence of 360 days probation in addition to 180 days in prison with 150 suspended. Jennings’ term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code 35-50-3-1(b) includes not only the 30-day executed portion, but also the suspended term. The trial court sentence caused him to serve more than a year of combined imprisonment and probation, which violates the statute. Remands for the trial court to recalculate his probation, not to exceed 185 days.
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Opinions Oct. 26, 2011

October 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony D. Laster v. State of Indiana
02A03-1103-CR-91
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and four counts of Class B felony robbery, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Laster’s motion for continuance. Remands to the trial court to revise sentence, holding that in light of the offender’s character and nature of offenses, a fully executed sentence on each count is not warranted.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marlyn J. Barnes and Melvin B. Taylor
11-1261, 11-1602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms the resentencing of Barnes to 292 months and Taylor to 188 months for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The District Court’s analysis evinces the perception of fair sentencing and reasonableness.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2011

October 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Allen Buchanan v. State of Indiana
82A01-1103-CR-139
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony child molesting, holding that trial court did not err in calculating the amount of credit time to which Buchanan was entitled and did not err in finding the age of the victim as an aggravator.
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Opinions October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James K. White and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Susan Orth, Allen County Treasurer, and Lisbeth A. Blosser, Allen County Auditor

02A03-1101-MI-8
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s decision to overrule Wells Fargo’s objection to the issuance of tax deeds, holding Allen County properly served the tax sale notices upon Wells Fargo. 
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2011

October 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Beth Ann Johnson, Mother of: Emily Johnson, Deceased Minor Child v. Lance Jacobs, Steven J. Cummins, Stacy Cummings, Lawrence County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Tony Newbold, Lawrence Co. Comm.
47A01-1102-CT-35
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for all the defendants in Johnson’s suit for damages in daughter Emily’s wrongful death. Her ex-husband Eric’s intentional criminal acts were a superseding intervening cause between any alleged negligence of the defendants and Emily’s death.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2011

October 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Alan Massey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1012-PC-808
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Even though the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of voluntary manslaughter, Massey wasn’t entitled to the voluntary manslaughter instruction because his girlfriend’s words ending their relationship do not constitute sufficient provocation to induce sudden heat. He also failed to carry his burden to show that the sentencing issue was significant.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2011

October 18, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bruce Barton v. Zimmer Inc.
10-2212
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Zimmer Inc. on Barton’s claims for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and for interference with his right to reinstatement under the Family Medical Leave Act. Barton’s ADEA claims fail for lack of causation and any available remedy. There is also no evidence of retaliation, and he has no claim under FMLA because when Barton returned to work after his medical leave, the company assigned him equivalent duties without regard to his medical leave.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2011

October 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Hooten v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1101-CR-11
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and Class A felony attempted murder.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2011

October 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cedric Tharpe v. State of Indiana
49A04-1101-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder. Tharpe didn’t show the judge who presided over his case was biased or prejudiced, nor did he demonstrate his trial was unfair. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying his motion for continuance and there is sufficient evidence to support his conviction.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2011

October 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George Michael True v. State of Indiana
39A04-1102-CR-37
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. There was no serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of the children. Instructing the jury that it could convict True of a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery instead of as a Class D felony improperly invited the jury to reach a “compromise” verdict. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 12, 2011

October 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Julie Nunley, n/k/a Waldrath v. Jeremy A. Nunley
68A04-1105-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms that Jeremy Nunley is entitled to a reduction of his child support obligation due to the decrease in his income due to his incarceration for Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent. Declines to create an exception to the rules set forth in Clark and Lambert for individuals incarcerated for the crime of nonsupport of a dependent.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2011

October 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Roger Loughry, also known as Mayorroger
10-2967
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Reverses District Court’s decision to allow admission as evidence “hard core” pornography without examining it or without explaining its reasoning under Rule 403. Holds that the material was highly inflammatory and held only minimal probative value, but created extreme prejudice against Loughry. Remands to the District Court for proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2011

October 10, 2011
The state and federal appellate courts are closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2011

October 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Fernbach v. State of Indiana
69A01-1103-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 60-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony attempted murder, holding that the jury’s rejection of Fernbach’s insanity defense was not erroneous.
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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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  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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