Opinions

Opinions Feb. 10, 2012

February 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of the Indiana Dept. of Insurance v. Tim Black, as Husband and Personal Rep. of Kay Black, Deceased
64A05-1104-CT-240
Civil tort. Reverses trial court’s denial of commissioner’s motion to dismiss but agrees with Black that because additional documentation had accompanied the commissioner’s motion, it should be treated as a motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Trial Rule 56. Holds that Black did not provide sufficient evidence of an agreement and a genuine issue of material fact exists. Remands for further proceedings. 
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2012

February 9, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sammie L. Booker-El v. Superintendent, Indiana State Prison and all agents
10-1490
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s dismissal of Booker-El’s complaint that prison officials misappropriated funds intended by statute to be used for the inmates’ benefit without due process of law. Booker-El has no property interest in the inmates’ recreation fund.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2012

February 8, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bei Bei Shuai v. State of Indiana
49A02-1106-CR-486
Criminal. Reverses trial courts’ denial of Shuai’s request to be released on bail. The defense presented sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that Shuai is guilty of murder of her child. Remands for a determination of bail. Declines to adopt Shuai’s argument that the murder statute is ambiguous as applied to her. Affirms denial of her motion to dismiss. Judge Riley concurs in part and dissents in part.

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Opinions Feb. 7, 2012

February 7, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Wirtz, et al. v. City of South Bend
11-3811
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of the city’s motion to appeal a case arising under the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Although the city is challenging two appealable orders, the challenge is untimely. The appeal is also moot.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2012

February 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Continental Electric Co., Inc. v. Gary Community School Corporation (NFP)
45A05-1105-PL-247
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Continental Electric’s request for a preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2012

February 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Davis v. Kris Ockomon, et al.
10-2589
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms finding that the position of senior humane officer for the city of Anderson was a policymaking position and therefore Davis could be dismissed for political reasons. City ordinances authorized the senior humane officer to exercise policymaking discretion.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2012

February 2, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Emergency Services Billing Corp. Inc., individually (and as agent for) agent of Westville Volunteer Fire Department v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al.
11-2381
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division at Lafayette, Judge John E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of ESBC’s suit seeking individuals involved in car accidents are responsible for the clean-up costs of hazardous substances released after accidents. A motor vehicle owned for personal use is a “consumer product in consumer use” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and thus owners/operators of personal motor vehicles are exempt from CERCLA’s response-cost provisions.
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Opinions Feb. 1, 2012

February 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mitchell & Stark Construction Company, Inc. v. Strand Associates, Inc., as successor In interest to Sieco, Inc. (NFP)
36A04-1103-CT-79
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Strand Associates.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2012

January 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dale J. Atkins v. Michael Zenk
11-1891
Civil. Affirms U.S. District Court’s denial of habeas corpus petition, holding Atkins did not prove his claim that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of trial counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Johnnie S. McCaa
56A04-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of McCaa’s motion to suppress evidence, holding that due to the unusual circumstances of an initial traffic stop, police did not err in asking McCaa to drive his truck to another location, where he ultimately failed field sobriety tests.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Holland, A Concerned Citizen for the Redevelopment of Gary v. Richard Steele, Barbara Steele, First Midwest Bank, As Successor Trustee By Way of Merger to Bank Calumet, N.A., et al.
45A03-1102-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Holland was not entitled to summary judgment on his quiet title claim, and grant of summary judgment to the bank on its trespass and slander of title claims. The trial court properly found that Holland had filed a frivolous lawsuit and awarded appropriate attorney fees. On cross-appeal, the appellate court denied the bank’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2012

January 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services
93A02-1107-EX-604
Agency appeal. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and wasn’t entitled to ongoing palliative care. Reeves failed to identify what type of care he should receive and the undisputed evidence does not show that palliative care limits the extent of his impairment.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Long v. State of Indiana
49A02-1105-CR-381
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Because the master commissioner presided at Long’s guilty plea hearing, and not at a criminal trial, she did not have the authority to enter a final judgment on Long’s sentence. Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown did not err by rejecting the master commissioner’s sentence and imposing her own sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2012

January 24, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Antoine Hill v. State of Indiana
45S03-1105-PC-283
Post conviction. Holds that the appropriate standard for judging the performance of Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel is the standard set forth in Baum v. State. Further holds that Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel in this case did not violate Baum because she represented the defendant in a procedurally fair setting which resulted in a judgment of the court. Justice Sullivan concurs with separate opinion; Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2012

January 20, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Dept. of Insurance, Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Robin Everhart, Personal Rep. of the Estate of James K. Everhart, Jr.
84S01-1105-CV-282
Civil. Affirms award of statutory maximum of $1 million in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund to Robin Everhart. Does not see any grounds on which to reduce the trial court’s award of $1 million in excess damages, so deciding whether to extend or halt Cahoon’s advance would seem unnecessary at best. The fund was not entitled to a set-off.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2012

January 19, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Chrysler Group, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.A., et al.
93S02-1109-EX-565
Agency appeal. Affirms award of benefits to Chrysler employees offered a buyout. By Chrysler’s own words — to Congress and its own employees — Enhanced Voluntary Termination of Employment Program was part of a company-wide effort intended to avert twenty-nine manufacturing plant closures, twenty-two parts depot closures, and 53,000 layoffs. The board’s conclusion on this issue of ultimate fact was reasonable.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2012

January 18, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
A.T. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1201-JV-26
Juvenile. Reverses trial court’s dispositional order and remands with instructions to vacate that portion of its order committing A.T. to the Department of Correction until his 18th birthday. Because A.T. does not meet the criteria of Indiana Code 31-37-19-9(b), a determinate commitment under that section may not be imposed.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2012

January 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lebamoff Enterprises v. Alex Hurley, in his official capacity as chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
11-1362
Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District judge’s grant of summary judgment for the state defendants, ruling against a Fort Wayne area wine retailer’s constitutional challenge to a state law that prevents retailers from shipping wine to consumers via a motor carrier. The appellate panel found that the state statute is not preempted by federal law. Judge David Hamilton issued a separate concurring opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2012

January 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kevin Harris v. Warrick County Sheriff’s Department
10-3706
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s entry of summary judgment for the sheriff’s department in a case where a deputy sheriff’s probationary employment was terminated based on violations of standard operating procedures, failure to follow orders and insufficient commitment to the job. Harris’s circumstantial evidence of discrimination falls far short of supporting an inference that he was terminated because of his race.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2012

January 12, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Redmond and Charles Avery Jr.
10-1947, 10-3914
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms denial of Avery’s request to withdraw his guilty plea to crack cocaine distribution, the calculation of the crack cocaine quantity attributed to him and his sentence. Remands for the District Court to reconsider Redmond’s sentence following a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base in light of United States v. Corner.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2012

January 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Daniel E. Serban v. State of Indiana
02A03-1106-CR-285
Criminal. Declines to revise Serban’s 11-year sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony corrupt business influence and Class D felony theft. Serban failed to demonstrate his sentence is inappropriate, and his stealing from his clients injured not only them, but also the legal profession.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2012

January 10, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Sarah Haag, Gordon Haag and Cathy Haag; Molly Kruger, William Kruger, III, and Katherine F. Kruger, et al. v. Mark Castro, The Indiana Youth Soccer Association, Virginia Surety Company, Inc., et al.
29S04-1102-CT-118
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Virginia Surety, the insurer of Indiana Youth Soccer Association, in a lawsuit brought by injured players seeking a declaration that the insurer provide coverage for an accident involving a Carmel youth soccer team while they were in Colorado. Because the van in which players were traveling when the accident occurred was not being used in the business of the association – a condition for coverage under the governing association’s business auto-insurance policy at issue – the injured players may not recover. Justice Dickson dissents; Justice David did not participate.
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Opinins Jan. 9, 2012

January 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Javon L. Bonner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1107-CR-330
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class A felony dealing in cocaine and convictions for Class C felony operating a vehicle with a lifetime suspension and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2012

January 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Woodson v. State of Indiana
49A05-1106-CR-306
Criminal. Reverses two fraud convictions on grounds that trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress evidence, finding that the evidence was improperly seized after a search without adequate reasonable suspicion.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2012

January 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John C. Cole, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1102-PC-67
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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