Opinions

Opinions Dec. 10, 2010

December 10, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Snowberger v. State of Indiana
09A02-1005-CR-570
Criminal. Reverses revocation of probation. Snowberger’s plea agreement to nonsupport of a dependent child required the state to show his failure to pay child support to be willful and he has the ability to make payments before his probation could be revoked. The evidence was insufficient to support the revocation.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2010

December 9, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Order corrects sentence in original opinion from Nov. 29, 2010.
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Opinions, Dec. 8, 2010

December 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Forman v. Wayne Penn, et al.
33A01-1007-CT-343
Civil tort. Dismisses appeal because it isn’t certified for interlocutory appeal or authorized as an appeal from a final judgment pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 54(B).
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2010

December 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.S. v. C.S.
03A01-1003-DR-140
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order to vacate a previous order granting M.S. joint legal custody of and parenting time with S.S., a child born to C.S., M.S.’s former domestic partner of more than 10 years. M.S. appealed and raised three issues: whether the trial court erred in vacating its prior custody and visitation order; whether the trial court abused its discretion by modifying custody of S.S. without a petition to modify or a showing of a substantial change in circumstances; and whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying M.S. parenting time.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Brian D. Grigsby v. Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Department of Transportation in his suit claiming he wasn’t hired because of his Native American heritage. Grigsby was not qualified for any of the positions he applied for.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2010

December 3, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marion County Auditor & McCord Investments v. Sawmill Creek
49A02-0912-CV-1192
Civil. Affirms order granting motion filed by Sawmill Creek to set aside a tax deed the auditor issued to McCord Investments. Follows the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones to agree with the trial court that the owner of the lot, Sawmill Creek, wasn’t provided constitutionally adequate notice of the tax sale.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2010

December 2, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan A. Corona-Gonzalez a/k/a Juan R. Ramirez
09-3993
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Reverses sentence for drug convictions and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. There is a substantial chance that the District Court’s misapprehension of whether Corona-Gonzalez was deported and returned to the country illegally played a significant role in the adjudication of his sentence. Remands to allow the District Court to reassess the sentence free of the factual misapprehension.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2010

December 1, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William R.D. Britt v. State of Indiana
02A03-1004-CR-253
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony robbery, Class D felony criminal recklessness, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in refusing to allow Britt’s counsel to introduce evidence of his brother Brandon’s prior robbery conviction.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2010

November 30, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert J. Hall v. State of Indiana
06A05-1003-CR-187
Criminal. Reverses conviction of operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic offender as a Class D felony. The trial court committed fundamental error in its instruction on the mens rea element of the Habitual Traffic Violator Statute. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2010

November 29, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Reverses judgment granting a stay requested by Menasha to give American Bank certain records available pursuant to Wisconsin’s Public Records Law. The bank, a plaintiff in a class-action suit charging the city violated federal securities law, requested the documents after the suit was filed. The stay is not a stay of a discovery order and can only be an injunction; only a stay of discovery is authorized by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.
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Opinions Nov. 24, 2010

November 24, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Samuel Neal, Delores Neal and Hometown Transmissions, Inc. v. William J. Cure, et al.
49A04-0908-CV-468
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Cures on the Neals’ claims of environmental contamination under the Environmental Legal Act, nuisance, trespass, and negligence. The designated evidence does not, in light of the Cures' lack of involvement in or knowledge of Masterwear’s actions, give rise to a genuine issue of material fact regarding the Cures' liability for nuisance, trespass, negligence, or an ELA violation.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2010

November 23, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC
10-2327
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Affirms the judgment of the District Court that granted Anodyne’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $72,747. The award was based on 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), which allows attorneys’ fees to be awarded to prevailing parties in Lanham Act suits, but only in “exceptional cases.” Nightingale contended no award of attorneys’ fees was justified because the case was not “exceptional.” Also grants Anodyne’s motion for fees and costs pursuant to Rule 38 of the appellate rules. Dismisses as moot Anodyne’s motion to strike Nightingale’s brief and appendix.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2010

November 22, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Levie S. Jackson v. State of Indiana
79A02-0912-CR-1230
Criminal. Affirms convictions of seven counts of Class C felony forgery, six counts of Class D felony theft, and finding Jackson is a habitual offender The trial court did not err in denying Jackson’s motion to sever. Because he did not present any explanation of how he was prejudiced by the timing of the additional charge, the trial court declined to reverse the habitual offender enhancement.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2010

November 19, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Florence R. Lacy-McKinney v. Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp.
71A03-0912-CV-587
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. on its action to foreclose on Lacy-McKinney’s mortgage that was insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Views the affirmative defense of noncompliance with HUD regulations as the failure of the mortgagee to satisfy a HUD-imposed condition precedent to foreclosure. To hold otherwise would circumvent the public policy of HUD. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2010

November 18, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David N. Rain and Paramount International Inc. v. Rolls-Royce Corp.
10-1290
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms partial summary judgment in favor of Rolls-Royce on Rain’s claim for breach of contract by breaching a non-disparagement provision in a settlement agreement after Rolls-Royce filed a Texas lawsuit involving Rain and Paramount. Affirms the judgment following a bench trial on breach of contract in favor of Rolls-Royce after Rolls-Royce asked Rain to leave an event.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2010

November 17, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Rosalio Cruz-Rea and Zoyla Garcia-Rea
09-3591, 10-1355
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences of Cruz-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, and convictions of and sentences for Garcia-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The government didn’t abuse its discretion in determining that the government laid sufficient foundation for an officer’s voice identification testimony under Fed. Evid. Rule 901(b)(5). Affirms in all other respects.

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Opinions Nov. 16, 2010

November 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin L. Hampton v. State of Indiana
84A04-1002-PC-122
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. There was no error in omitting the requested sentence and appellate counsel did not fail to provide effective assistance.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2010

November 15, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lorenzo Tavarez
09-3879
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of distributing 50 grams or more methamphetamine. Tavarez failed to show that the confidential informant was available only to the government. The District Court therefore did not err by refusing the missing witness instruction. Concludes that the jury could reasonably reach its guilty verdict on the circumstantial evidence presented here.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2010

November 12, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of William J. Rawls
49S00-0908-DI-355
Discipline. Disbars Rawls for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.16(d), 8.1(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c). Rawls has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients' cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client's driver's license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay.
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Opinions Nov. 11, 2010

November 11, 2010
The courts are closed today in observance of Veterans Day. 
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2010

November 10, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott D. Wells v. Herman Bud Bernitt, et al.
53A01-0910-CV-494
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the Bernitts on Wells’ claim against them for defamation because there was no admissible evidence before the court to establish actual malice, an element of defamation. Affirms summary judgment in favor of J.D. Maxwell and Travis Coryea as to Wells’ claim for negligent and intentional torts finding the evidence establishes the officers didn’t use excessive force. Affirms summary judgment for Wells on the Bernitts’ cross appeal alleging abuse of process.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2010

November 9, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony A. Parish v. State of Indiana
02A03-1002-CR-74
Criminal. Affirms Parish’s convictions of murder, Class B felony robbery, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, and his sentence to an aggregate term of 86 years of incarceration. On appeal, Parish claimed a protective search of a locked glove box during a traffic stop was constitutionally improper, and therefore evidence found during the search should have been suppressed. COA concluded the protective search was permissible under the Fourth Amendment.
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Opinions Nov. 8, 2010

November 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Cranston v. State of Indiana
29A02-1003-CR-374
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater. The admission of the Datamaster machine printed ticket stating his BAC without live testimony from the equipment technician didn’t violate Cranston’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation.
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Opinions Nov. 5, 2010

November 5, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
S.A. v. Review Board
93A02-1004-EX-568
Civil. Affirms the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s ruling that S.A.’s acceptance of an early retirement package made her ineligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits. S.A. left employment without good cause in connection with the work.
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Opinions Nov. 4, 2010

November 4, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
DBL Axel LLC v. Lasalle Bank National Association
15A01-1003-PL-205
Civil plenary. Affirms order directing immediate turnover of funds in favor of LaSalle Bank. The checks paid by the city of Lawrenceburg to DBL concerned the property in question and were within the scope of and subject to the receivership order, and DBL’s failure to include that money paid or otherwise notify the receiver of the settlement agreement was a violation of that order. Remands for the trial court to amend its order directing immediate turnover of funds and enter an order directing turnover in the amount of $1,365,500.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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