Opinions Nov. 18, 2013

November 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bart Whitesitt v. Town of Knightstown
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the town of Knightstown. Holds although Indiana Code 33-35-1-1 only allows a second- or third-class city to abolish a local town court every fourth year,  Knightstown did not violate the state statute because its town court was established in 1970 and is, therefore, exempt from the four-year restriction.

Opinions Nov. 16, 2013

November 15, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Patrick Austin v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction and aggregate 45-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. A traffic stop and canine search that led to the discovery of nearly 90 pounds of cocaine hidden in a semi-truck was not unreasonable, and the trial court’s decision to continue Austin’s trial beyond the 70-day speedy trial window due to court congestion was not clearly erroneous.


Opinions Nov. 14, 2013

November 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darliss Wert and Gary Wert v. Meridian Security Insurance Company
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the insurance company on the Werts’ underinsured-motorist claim. Provisions in the insurance contract, when read together, make it unclear when the Werts should have filed a lawsuit to preserve their claim and may completely foreclose their ability to file a lawsuit.

Opinions Nov. 13, 2013

November 13, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Julie Kitchell v. Ted Franklin, as the Mayor of the City of Logansport, and the Common Council of the City of Logansport
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court dismissal of a suit challenging the city’s planned public-private partnership to convert a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity by burning refuse. Justices held that the Indiana Public-Private Agreements statute does not require a local legislative body to adopt an enabling statute before it may issue requests for proposals or begin contract negotiations.

Opinions Nov. 12, 2013

November 12, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Edward Banks, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Banks’ motion to correct erroneous sentence.

Opinions Nov. 11, 2013

November 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
William D. Grote III et al, v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al.
Reverses and remands to the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with orders to grant an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the “contraception mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The majority held that Grote Industries made a strong case for relief from the mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Judge Ilana Rovner warned that the panel was rewriting the law to extend rights of religion to a for-profit, secular corporation, thereby opening a host of federal regulations to religious challenges from corporation owners.

Opinions Nov. 8, 2013

November 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hitesh Seth v. Midland Funding, LLC, as an Assignee of Columbus Bank and Trust as Issuer of Aspire Visa
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Midland Funding LLC on Midland’s complaint against Seth for nonpayment of credit card debt. Midland has failed as a matter of law to designate evidence to make a prima facie case that it is entitled to summary judgment on its complaint. Accordingly, the burden of proof did not shift to Seth to show that there exist questions of material fact precluding summary judgment.

Opinions Nov. 7, 2013

November 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Debra Minott, Faith Laird, Patti Bailey v. Lee Alan Bryant Health Care Facilities, Inc.; Parkview Residential Care Center, L.L.C.; Parke County Residential Care Center, L.L.C., et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of state’s request for restitution for damages paid. The Nov. 8 order was not a final judgment because it did not address the issue of restitution. Holds the law firms and creditor banks in this case are judgment creditors. Remands for further proceedings.

Opinions Nov. 6, 2013

November 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kimberly Kubina v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms 35-year sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony neglect of a dependent. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding Kubina was in a position of trust with her stepson.

Opinions Nov. 5, 2013

November 5, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Wilson v. Kelly (Wilson) Myers
Domestic relation. Reverses modification of custody. Finds an abuse of discretion in the way this modification was carried out and ordered as it never mentioned whether the modification was in the best interest of the children or noted any substantial change in any of the factors enumerated in I.C. 31-17-2-8. Orders an evidentiary hearing and inquiry into in-camera interviews. Since the two children have already been pulled from their Indiana school system and are attending school in Michigan, this status quo should continue until further order of the court as to minimize further disruption to the kids.

Opinions Nov. 4, 2013

November 4, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Christian Serino v. Alec Hensley and City of Oakland City, Indiana
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Serino’s lawsuit for federal claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution and Indiana tort claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Serino’s claims are time-barred; his federal malicious prosecution claim failed to state a constitutional violation independent of his time-barred false arrest claim, and his state law claims for malicious prosecution and IIED were barred by the defendants’ immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

Opinions Nov. 1, 2013

November 1, 2013
Tax Court
Virginia Garwood v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue.
Denies state motion to dismiss Garwood’s claim that she is entitled to a refund of $122,684, the value of animals and property seized from an alleged ‘puppy mill’ through the use of jeopardy tax warrants that were voided by prior court rulings. The court ruled it has jurisdiction because the matter arises under tax law and that Garwood properly filed claims with the Department of State Revenue that led to the litigation.

Opinions Oct. 31, 2013

October 31, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mark Suesz, individually and on behalf of a class v. Med-1 Solutions LLC
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Suesz’s complaint that Med-1 Solutions violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act after obtaining a favorable judgment against him in Marion County Small Claims Court in Pike Township because he neither lived nor signed the contract in that township. Small claim courts are not judicial districts for purposes of the FDCPA. Judge Posner dissents.

Opinions Oct. 30, 2013

October 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eric Danner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Opinions Oct. 29, 2013

October 29, 2013
Shawn Telligman v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Claims Adjudication
Agency action. Affirms ruling in favor of the IDWD’s claim that Telligman failed to disclose or falsified information to IDWD in order to receive unemployment benefits. The ALJ and review board did not err in finding that Telligman knowingly failed to disclose or falsified facts that would disqualify him from receiving benefits, reduce his benefits, or render him ineligible for benefits or extended benefits, and in finding him liable to repay IDWD the benefit overpayment amounts together with applicable penalties and interest. The board did not abuse its discretion in denying his request to submit additional evidence.

Opinions Oct. 28, 2013

October 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Chaunsey L. Fox v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms felony murder conviction. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Fox’s motion to dismiss and allowing the jury to determine the issue of credibility and answer the question of who was telling the truth.

Opinions Oct. 25, 2013

October 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael A. Lane v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder, Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in a schedule II controlled substance, and two counts of Class C felony criminal recklessness. Holds an instruction on reckless homicide was not warranted and that brief testimonial hearsay evidence admitted was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Opinions Oct. 24, 2013

October 24, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gregory Dickens v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief seeking new trial for murder of a police officer. Dickens was not entitled to a new trial in light of either newly discovered evidence or an alleged Brady violation. He also did not receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

Opinions Oct. 23, 2013

October 23, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Griffin v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement as the police officer lacked reasonable suspicion to detain Griffin for the purpose of investigating a possible crime. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor battering an officer while being placed under arrest because there is sufficient evidence Griffin was not acting in self-defense. Also reverses order to perform community services and remands to address the question of payment of costs. Judge Mathias concurs in separate opinion; Judge Bailey concurs in part and dissents in part.

Opinions Oct. 22, 2013

October 22, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Billy Julian v. Sam Hanna, et. al.
Criminal. Reverses District Court grant of summary judgment to defendant parties in a malicious prosecution case and remands for further proceedings, holding that Billy Julian’s claim was improperly dismissed as untimely. The panel held that the two-year window for the claim did not begin until November 2010, when charges against him were dismissed, and therefore filing of the claim in July 2011 was timely.

Opinions Oct. 18, 2013

October 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Floyd Weddle v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms on rehearing that convictions for possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine were not double jeopardy, and finding that the jury could have reasonably concluded that Weddle was in possession of methamphetamine and was in the process of manufacturing an additional amount of the drug.

Opinions Oct. 17, 2013

October 17, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy L. Hyser v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting. The exclusion of the evidence Hyser wished to present deprived him of a meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense. The state is not barred from retrying Hyser.

Opinions Oct. 16, 2013

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven R. Ott v. State of Indiana
Criminal.  Affirms denial of Ott’s motion to correct error following the trial
court’s order denying his “Verified Motion to Convert Class D Felony Conviction to a Class A Misdemeanor Pursuant to I.C. 35-50-2-7(c).”

Opinions Oct. 15, 2013

October 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Judith (Lund) Pherson v. Michael Lund
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of Pherson’s motion to correct error, which challenged a post-dissolution order in response to a motion by Lund for clarification of a pension-fund provision of a property settlement agreement incorporated into a divorce decree. The pension contributions in the 18 ½ years since the dissolution were after-acquired property beyond the scope of the settlement agreement to divide.

Opinions Oct. 14, 2013

October 14, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Richard Brown
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division. Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms 60-month total sentence following guilty plea to one count each of wire fraud, mail fraud and tax fraud. The sentencing beyond the advisory guidelines sentencing range is reasonable when considered in light of the court’s oral pronouncement of the sentence.
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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.