Opinions

Opinions Dec. 31, 2015

December 31, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nathan Polson v. State of Indiana
55A01-1504-CR-135
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license, rejecting Polson’s argument on appeal that the trial court abused its discretion because he claims the gun was seized by police in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2015

December 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles S. Whitham v. State of Indiana

39A01-1504-CR-134
Criminal.  Affirms Whitham’s conviction of Class A felony attempted murder but sua sponte reverses his remaining convictions of Class B felony aggravated battery, Class B felony battery, Class C felony battery and Class D felony strangulation because each of these were a lesser-included offense to his conviction for attempted murder. Remands for the trial court to vacate these offenses.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2015

December 29, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Barker and Specialty Limos, LLC v. Jason Price
24A02-1506-PL-626
Civil plenary. Reverses in part and affirms in part summary judgment in favor of Price in a contract dispute concerning the sale of a van. The trial court did not err when it concluded Price delivered a valid certificate of title even though the title was not in his name. Reverses summary judgment on the issue of whether a discrepancy in the model year of the van created a material issue. On remand, the court will consider not only the $2,000 deposit agreement but also extrinsic evidence to determine whether the model year of the van was material to their agreement.     
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Opinions Dec. 28, 2015

December 28, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Douglas L. Krasnoff v. The Education Resources Institute
49A04-1501-CC-3
Civil collection. On rehearing, reaffirms original opinion that affirmed judgment the trial court in favor of The Education Resources Institute. Clarifies Krasnoff’s liability may be repaid to TERI Loan Holdings as the post-bankruptcy successor in interest and that any additional claims seeking a second judgment on a promissory note would be barred by the doctrine of res judicata.  

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Opinions Dec. 23, 2015

December 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Raymond Kerr v. City of South Bend
71A03-1502-CT-49
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part summary judgment for the city on Kerr’s complaint alleging that noxious gases from its sewer lines had been forced into his home. Finds Kerr’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations insofar as they relate to injury to his health. A portion of his claims may proceed insofar as they relate to damage to his property. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 22, 2015

December 22, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Randy L. Thornton v. State of Indiana, Ind. Dept. of Corr., Marion Co., Indiana, City of Indianapolis, Matthew Pietrzak, Stephanie Buttz, Eric Lee, and Dianna Johnson
49S02-1512-PL-709
Civil plenary. Grants transfer and reverses the dismissal of Thorton’s Section 1983 claim against the defendants. Remands for further proceedings. The trial court erred when it determined Thorton’s complaint did not state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the individually named probation officers. Justices Dickson and Massa dissent without opinion.
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Opinions Dec. 21, 2015

December 21, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Frederick T. Garner v. United States of America
13-3506, 15-3661
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil/Criminal. Vacates new criminal sentence and remands to the district court for resentencing. Because of the misunderstanding that arose after Garner tried to appeal from the district court’s comments indicating the court saw no merit in his ineffective-counsel argument, Garner did not receive the full resentencing to which he was entitled.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2015

December 18, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kevin B. McCarthy, et al. and Langsenkamp Family Apostolate, et al. v. Patricia Ann Fuller, et al.
14-3308, 15-1839
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms judgment in favor of plaintiffs on their claims against Fuller and Paul Hartman, including defamation. Reverses injunction put in place against Fuller and Hartman enjoining them from keeping up a blog or making certain statements regarding the plaintiffs. The injunction in this case is so broad it threatens to silence Fuller and Hartman completely. Remands for the district court to decide whether to issue a new injunction, one consistent with the criticisms outlined by the appellate court. Judge Sykes concurs with separate opinion.
 
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2015

December 17, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Wednesday.
AM General LLC v. James A. Armour
71S03-1507-PL-407
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order in favor or Armour, awarding him the remaining portion of his long-term incentive plan payments. Holds that the promissory note AM General provided to Armour as compensation under the plan after he retired did not satisfy the requirement of “payment” under the disputed employment contract. As a matter of law, payment under the contract requires the benefit to be paid in cash or a cash equivalent.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2015

December 16, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Jeffrey Hewitt v. Westfield Washington School Corporation, et al.
29S04-1506-PL-377
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the school corporation on Hewitt’s lawsuit after he was terminated as principal of an elementary school for being involved in a sexual relationship with a teacher, one of his subordinates. In a case of first impression, holds that the teacher’s termination statute, I.C. 20-28-7.5-1 et seq., does not apply to termination of an administrator when his underlying teaching contract is not being terminated. Holds that the provisions in the form teacher’s contract that make reference to an opportunity for hearing and a just cause determination also apply only to the termination of an administrator’s underlying teaching contract.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2015

December 15, 2015
Opinions Dec. 15, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

The following opinion was posted yesterday after IL deadline:
Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, et al. v. David Cook, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commmission
14-2559
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana. Finds convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations did not meet their burden to show that the state law limiting the sale of cold beer violates the Equal Protection Clause.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2015

December 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
F. John Rogers, as Personal Representative of Paul Michalik, Deceased, and R. David Boyer, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of Jerry Lee Chambers v. Angela Martin and Brian Paul Brothers
02A05-1506-CT-520
Civil tort. Reverses trial court orders granting Angela Martin’s motion to strike and motion for summary judgment. The question of whether Martin is liable under the Dram Shop Act for furnishing alcohol to an intoxicated person, who later died after attending a party at the house she shared with Brian Paul Brothers, is a factual issue to be resolved at trial. Finds Martin as the host of a party had a duty to exercise reasonable care and render aid after she saw Paul Michalik unconscious after drinking and being involved in a fight, and questions of fact remain as to whether she breached that duty.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2015

December 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wayne Patton v. Jessica Patton

17A04-1503-DR-137
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s motion for modification of visitation, finding the trial court struck a balance that addresses the concerns of all, while still providing father with opportunities for more rewarding parenting time with W.P. immediately and in the future. Reverses portion denying his modification of child support, finding the emancipation of daughter Ja. P. was a substantial and continuing change to justify modification. Remands for modification of support obligation to become $136.42 per week.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2015

December 10, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ronald L. Eckelbarger v. State of Indiana
90A02-1503-CR-188
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and one count of Class D felony possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Eckelbarger’s convictions do not violate double jeopardy, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering consecutive sentences, and his 32-year sentence is not inappropriate. Judge Riley dissents in part.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2015

December 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Chuck W. Adams, Charles E. Howard, et al. v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., et al.
49A02-1406-PL-465
Civil plenary. Reverses the grant of ArvinMeritor and state defendants’ Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim for unpaid wages because Adams, a Department of Correction inmate, has a private right of action to pursue his wage claim. Affirms summary judgment to the defendants on his personal injury claim because Adams had an available administrative remedy but failed to pursue it to completion. Concludes Adams was allowed to participate in a hearing on a number of motions through the submission of documentary evidence. Judge May dissents.
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Opinions Dec. 8, 2015

December 8, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Stacy Knighten v. East Chicago Housing Authority, Individually and d/b/a West Calumet Complex, Davis Security Service, LLC, and Donnell Caldwell

45S04-1512-CT-686
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Davis Security on Knighten’s complaint under the theory of respondeat superior. There is conflicting evidence as to the scope and extent of Caldwell’s duties and responsibilities as an employee of Davis Security.
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Paralyzed woman’s claim against security guard’s company proceeds

December 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Whether a security guard, who shot a woman during an argument while he was on duty, was acting to further his employer’s business when he shot her is a matter that should be decided by a judge or jury, the Indiana Supreme Court held Tuesday.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2015

December 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Whitley v. State of Indiana
49A02-1501-CR-50
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the denial of Whitley’s motion to suppress evidence found during an inventory search of the vehicle Whitley was driving. Even though officers did not follow police procedure for inventorying a vehicle, there is nothing to indicate the search was a pretext for a narcotics investigation.
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Court erred in dividing husband’s accounts

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a man that a dissolution court’s valuation and division of his pension and deferred tax savings plan was incorrectly calculated, but rejected his other claims stemming from his divorce.
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COA upholds vehicle search despite noncompliance with protocol

December 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Even though two Indianapolis police officers did not follow the department’s general order on towing and impounding vehicles after a traffic stop, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s drug convictions.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2015

December 4, 2015
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday.
Marion County Assessor v. Gateway Arthur, Inc.

49T10-1212-TA-82
Tax. Affirms the decision by the Indiana Board of Tax Review to reduce Gateway Arthur Inc.’s real property assessment for the 2006 tax year. The board did not err in determining that the assessor rather than Gateway Arthur bore the burden of proof regarding the assessment, in determining that the assessor’s evidence lacked probative value, or in valuing the subject property at $10.5 million for the 2006 tax year.
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Erroneous jury instruction leads to DWI conviction reversal

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A jury instruction given at a man’s drunken-driving trial resulted in fundamental error because it contained a constitutionally impermissible evidentiary presumption, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. As such, the court reversed the man’s conviction.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2015

December 3, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger S. Blackman v. Karen A. Gholson and James W. Blackman
52A02-1412-ES-883
Estate, supervised. Affirms dismissal of Roger Blackman’s will contest action and subsequent denial of his motion to correct error. Finds the trial court erred in dismissing the suit based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, as it did have jurisdiction over Blackman’s attempted will contest action. But it was appropriate to dismiss the action due to his failure to comply with the statutes and rules for initiating such an action. His failure to pay the filing fee for the action precludes reliance upon the Journey’s Account Statute to allow him to re-file. Denies Karen Gholson and James Blackman’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2015

December 2, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Schmidt v. Indiana Insurance Company, C&F Insurance Group, LLC, and Bart Stith
22S01-1507-PL-412
Civil plenary. Reverses in part the trial court's entry of summary judgment for the insurance agency and insurance agent to the extent that it may apply to the Schmidt’s claim for negligent procurement of insurance, but directs the entry of partial summary judgment for the agents as to Schmidt’s claim alleging the agents failed to accurately report dwelling fire policy information to the insurance company. The agents failed to exclude the possibility that other types of fire insurance coverage for Schmidt’s rental property could have been obtained and issued. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana Insurance Co.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2015

December 1, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: David J. Steele
49S00-1509-DI-527    
Attorney discipline. Disbars David J. Steele, who had been under emergency interim suspension since Sept. 4, for eight counts detailed in a verified complaint. Steele is accused of stealing about $150,000 from clients, disclosing client confidences for purposes of both retaliation and amusement, threatening and intimidating his office staff and lying pervasively to all comers. Disbarment is warranted based on the seriousness and brazenness of the conduct.
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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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