Opinions

Opinions Jan. 2, 2014

January 2, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Phillip Rucker

13-1297
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of one count of wire fraud and sentence of 30 months imprisonment, one year of supervised release and $73,488.95 to be paid in restitution. In light of the admission of co-conspirator Sheila Chandler’s 11 prior convictions for wire fraud that were within the 10-year window, her 2000 conviction had very little probative value, if any. Thus, the District Court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the probative value of the remote conviction did not substantially outweigh the prejudicial effect of presenting cumulative evidence.

 
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Opinions Dec. 31, 2013

December 31, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Zachary Medlock v. Trustees of Indiana University, et al.
13-1900
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of IU and other defendants, holding that a student inspection of a dorm room that found marijuana followed by a police search warrant in which the pot was seized was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Likewise, the process through which Medlock was suspended was not a denial of due process.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2013

December 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rico Nathaniel Morst v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1305-CR-226
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Morst’s probation.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2013

December 27, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dawn Marie Adams v. James Gregory Adams
13-1636
Civil. Reverses District Court denial of creditor Dawn Marie Adams’ bankruptcy court claim against her former husband and business partner, James Gregory Adams. The bankruptcy court claims were previously adjudicated in state courts and the doctrine of issue preclusion prevented the bankruptcy court from rehearing those issues. Remanded for proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 26, 2013

December 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry Donald Rutledge v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A05-1302-CR-70
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder.
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Opinions Dec. 24, 2013

December 24, 2013
There are no opinions Dec. 24 due to the courts being closed.
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Opinions Dec. 23, 2013

December 23, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael W. Peters, M.D. and Deaconess Hospital, Inc. v. Cynthia S. Kendall and Michael J. Kendall
82A01-1302-PL-55
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the medical group’s motion for partial summary judgment in the medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the Kendalls. The proof of claim filed by the Kendalls in the liquidation proceedings of Dr. Peters’ insurer does not constitute a binding contract.
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Opinions Dec. 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael E. Garcia v. Carolyn W. Colvin
13-2120
Civil. Reverses the Social Security Administration’s denial of disability benefits for Michael E. Garcia, finding that the denial was riddled with error and that the record shows Garcia is among the most seriously disabled applicants for disability the Circuit Court has encountered. Remands to the Social Security Administration for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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Opinions Dec. 19, 2013

December 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Tyrice J. Halliburton v. State of Indiana
20S00-1206-LW-560
Life without parole. Affirms murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. The trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence. Concludes the trial court committed no error, let alone fundamental error, by admitting photographs into evidence. Finds the court’s limiting instruction was erroneous, but Halliburton made no claim that the error was fundamental and no such fundamental error occurred.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2013

December 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ralph Stockton v. Falls Auctioneers and Realtors and Peggy Buck as Trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust
18A05-1304-CT-160
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Peggy Buck as trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust on Stockon’s negligence suit. There are questions of fact regarding whether Stockton’s fall was caused in part by the length of the grass and whether Buck controlled the length of the grass. It cannot be said as a matter of law that Buck owed no duty to Stockton and Buck was not entitled to summary judgment on this basis. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2013

December 17, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Gas Company, Inc. and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company, et al v. Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC
93S02-1306-EX-407
Agency action. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a contract between Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC that obligates the state to purchase synthetic natural gas that would be produced at a coal-gasification plant in Rockport. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals had invalidated the contract, but justices agreed that the IURC’s decision should be affirmed because the parties modified the disputed portion of the contract.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2013

December 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Avon Trails Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Kellie Homeier
32A01-1307-PL-312
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of a temporary injunction that would have allowed Avon Trails to enforce a restrictive covenant barring Homeier from parking a trailer on her lot or an adjacent lot. Remands to the trial court with orders to adopt settlement language the parties submitted as a joint motion to vacate findings and submission of agreed entry of judgment.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2013

December 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Everitt Dickey v. State of Indiana
10A01-1212-CR-587
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A child molesting, rejecting Dickey’s argument that testimony about his physical abuse of the victim and her mother was improperly admitted. The court held that Dickey failed to preserve the argument for appeal because, while his attorney objected to a line of questioning about when Dickey’s relationship with the victim’s mother began to change, a continuing objection was not raised.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2013

December 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Eric Johnson v. Gillian Wheeler Johnson
49S05-1303-DR-199
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court order with respect to the calculation of Gillian Johnson’s health insurance premium credit and application of Eric Johnson’s Social Security Retirement benefits. Summarily affirms the Court of Appeals as to the remaining issues. The trial court’s approach was appropriate in light of the flexibility afforded by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2013

December 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carol Sparks Drake v. Thomas A. Dickey, Craig Anderson, Charles E. Podell, and Duke Realty Corporation
29A02-1302-CT-152
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Duke Realty on Drake’s claim that it intentionally interfered with her partnership agreement with the law firm. The trial court erred when it concluded that Drake had failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Duke Realty intentionally induced Parr Richey to terminate Drake as a partner. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2013

December 10, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Didion and Kristi Didion as Parents and Legal Guardians of Brayden Didion v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company
27A02-1303-PL-232
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. on its complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that it had no liability for a dog bite on an insured’s property. The person living at the property was not an insured and Auto-Owners was not given timely notice of the dog bite and injury pursuant to the terms of the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2013

December 9, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lagro Township and Karen Pinkerton Tatro v. George E. Bitzer and Zelma E. Bitzer
85A02-1306-PL-520
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Bitzers on Lagro Township’s action seeking to exercise control over an area of land referred to as “the Belden Cemetery,” which is located on land owned by the Bitzers. The statute authorizing a township trustee to exercise control over cemeteries located within the township is inapplicable where the cemetery is located on land on which property taxes have been paid. And here, even though there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether and to what extent the dedication of the Belden Cemetery to the public was accepted by the public through usage, there is no genuine issue of material fact with regard to the Bitzers’ payment of property taxes on the land on which the Belden Cemetery is located for decades. For this reason alone, the township’s claims of authority over the Belden Cemetery must fail.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2013

December 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Everett Sweet v. State of Indiana
35A02-1305-PC-451
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Sweet’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief. He argued had he not received ineffective counsel on his motion to suppress, the state’s evidence against him would have been suppressed and he would not have pleaded guilty to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine. This is not a permissible basis to collaterally attack a guilty plea in Indiana.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2013

December 5, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Katherine Ryan v. Larry Janovsky
45A03-1304-DR-145
Domestic relation. Reverses denial of Ryan’s petition for contempt and rule to show cause after Janovsky refused to sign a proposed qualified domestic relations order. The entry of a QDRO is not time-barred.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2013

December 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Deeter v. Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
43A04-1305-PL-229
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. regarding Rick Deeter’s claim for insurance proceeds. Determines that when an insurance company has included an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss that results from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will respect the parties’ right to contract and enforce that exclusion. The undisputed designated evidence shows that Callie Deeter purposefully and intentionally burnt down her home, and Farmers was within the scope of its contractual rights to deny the Deeters’ insurance claim in accordance with the intentional loss exclusion contained in the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2013

December 2, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas Blanchar v. Standard Insurance Co.
12-2745
Civil. Affirms District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of Standard, holding that Blanchar is not entitled to overtime compensation  because his work satisfies the requirements of the administrative employee exemption.

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Opinions Nov. 27, 2013

November 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc.
49A04-1305-PL-210
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of a suit seeking class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters and asserted a right to do so. The court found the plaintiff likely entitled to recovery of the fees, and that at minimum the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Remands for proceedings, including whether class certification is appropriate.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2013

November 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wanda Goodpaster, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al.
13-1629
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of the bar owners’ request for injunctive and declaratory relief against the enforcement of the smoking ban in Indianapolis. They cannot succeed on the merits of any of their myriad claims. The injunction the bar owners sought was thus unwarranted.
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Opinions Nov. 25, 2013

November 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James L. Graham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1304-CR-151
Criminal. Vacates a purported habitual offender enhancement and affirms the three-year aggregate sentence following guilty pleas to Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class A misdemeanor operating with suspended license and Class B misdemeanor false informing.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2013

November 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Harold O. Fulp, Jr. v. Nancy A. Gilliland
41S01-1306-TR-426
Trust. Reverses denial of specific performance of the purchase agreement to Harold Fulp Jr. Under the terms of the trust and the Trust Code, Ruth Fulp owed her children no fiduciary duties and was free to sell her farm at less than fair market value; Harold Fulp Jr. is therefore entitled to specific performance. Concludes that Ruth Fulp did not effectively amend the trust by selling the farm.
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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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