Opinions

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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Opinions Aug. 31, 2011

August 31, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Area Foundation of the United Methodist Church, Inc., d/b/a United Methodist Church, Bishop Michael Coyner, Ann Glass, and Robert Ostermeier v. Lynn Snyder
49A05-1011-CT-715
Civil tort. Reverses denial of the church’s motion for summary judgment on Rev. Snyder’s defamation claim. The church has made a prima facie showing that the trial court erred on this matter because the statements at issue involve Snyder’s fitness for ministry. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the church on Snyder’s breach of contract claim. The trial court couldn’t determine whether he had an enforceable contract without becoming excessively entangled in church doctrine in violation of the First Amendment. Remands for further proceedings.

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Opinions Aug. 30, 2011

August 30, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Martin A. Villalon, Jr. v. State of Indiana
45A03-1010-CR-544
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder and 60-year sentence, holding the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in waiving Villalon to adult court, and that the Sixth Amendment does not apply to juvenile proceedings.

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Opinions Aug. 29, 2011

August 29, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
William Padula, administrator of the estate of Jerome Clement v. Timothy Leimbach, et al.
10-3395
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for defendants, which include the City of East Chicago Police Department, on Padula’s suit for wrongful arrest, excessive force, failure to train officers, and condoning the use of excessive force, and the remand of state law claims to state court. The officers had probable cause to arrest Clement because they believed him to be intoxicated, the officers’ use of force was not excessive, and Padula’s claims of failure to adequately train and supervise officers and for condoning and ratifying excessive force fail.
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Opinions Aug. 26, 2011

August 26, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Victoria Serednyj v. Beverly Healthcare, LLC.
10-2201
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Serednyj’s former employer, Beverly Healthcare, holding the employer did not violate the law in firing her, because she was unable to perform all the functions of her job due to pregnancy complications.
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Opinions Aug. 25, 2011

August 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael H. Haury v. Bruce Lemmon, et al.
11-2148
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L Miller Jr.
Civil. Reverses denial by District Court to proceed as a pauper on the ground that Haury had accumulated three strikes for the dismissal of three prior lawsuits. Only two of the cases named by the District Court warrant strikes under 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g). Grants Haury’s motion and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions August 24, 2011

August 24, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Arboleda Ortiz v. Thomas Webster, Doctor
10-2012
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Larry McKinney.
Civil. Vacates summary judgment for Dr. Webster and remands with instructions that the case proceed to trial. This is the second time the case has come on appeal and the first time, the 7th Circuit reversed summary judgment for the doctor on the grounds that Ortiz had established fact disputes on the seriousness of his eye condition and the constitutionally of Webster’s delayed response. The record had changed very little on remand yet the District Court granted summary judgment for the doctor. Judge Kanne dissents.
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Opinions Aug. 23, 2011

August 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian Roberts v. State of Indiana
24A04-1011-PC-726
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Roberts’ petition for post-conviction relief. Roberts’ plea was entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily and Roberts can’t establish prejudice due to his trial counsel’s deficient performance.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2011

August 22, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Smith Barney, et al. v. StoneMor Operating LLC, et al.
41A04-1103-MF-96
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms denial of Barney’s motion to compel arbitration. As a matter of law, Independence Trust was not a “successor in interest” to either of the prior trustees and therefore isn’t bound by the arbitration clause in the account agreements. Consequently, there is no basis for compelling StoneMor to arbitrate its claims.
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Opinions Aug. 19, 2011

August 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
George A. Feuston v. State of Indiana
38A02-1011-CR-1175
Criminal. Affirms denial of Feuston’s motion for discharge of his Class D felony theft charge in Jay County. He caused the delay in the case by absconding and failing to appear at his pretrial conference. Chief Judge Robb concurs in a separate opinion.

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Opinions Aug. 18, 2011

August 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Kroger Company, et al. v. Plan Commission of the Town of Plainfield, Indiana
32A04-1012-MI-751
Miscellaneous. Reverses trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Plan Commission of the Town of Plainfield and remands for further proceedings, holding the plan commission must provide specific reasons for denying Kroger’s development petition.
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Opinions Aug. 17, 2011

August 17, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lisa Hicks v. Avery Drei, LLC and Chance Felling
10-2744
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms grant of Avery Drei and Felling’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on Hicks’ vacation pay claim and a portion of their similar motion on her overtime pay claim. Evidence shows that Hicks and Felling had an agreement that Hicks would not earn vacation pay until after being employed for one year; her employment ended before she reached her one-year anniversary. The District Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Hicks’ motion in limine. Affirms in all other respects.
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Opinions Aug. 16, 2011

August 16, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lady Di’s, Inc. v. Enhanced Services Billing, Inc., and ILD Telecomunications, doing business as ILD Teleservices, Inc.
10-3903
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of plaintiff’s request for class certification and grant of the defendants’ motions for summary judgment on the unjust enrichment and statutory deception claims, holding Indiana “anti-cramming” regulation does not apply to the defendants because they are not telephone companies and did not act in this case as billing agents for telephone companies.
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2011

August 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
T.W. v. State of Indiana
54A01-1103-JV-125
Juvenile. Affirms order that T.W. must register as a sex offender for 10 years. In the absence of any constitutional constraints, it was entirely the General Assembly’s prerogative to grant Indiana courts the subject matter jurisdiction to enter orders requiring certain juveniles to register as sex offenders. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling T.W.’s objections to the testimony of two court-appointed psychologists.
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Opinions Aug. 12, 2011

August 12, 2011
LaDon Moore v. Review Board and Whitington Homes and Services
93A02-1005-EX-529
Civil. Affirms finding that Moore was discharged by her employer for just cause. Finds that publishing the names of the parties involved in cases with the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is essential to eliminate confusion and to increase efficiency.
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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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