Opinions

Opinions July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Brenda Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Center
09-3661
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the District Court’s order of summary judgment in favor of Plainfield Healthcare Center. Finds that Plainfield’s racial preference policy for patients violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That policy, along with other incidents that occurred before Plainfield fired Chaney, contributed to a hostile work environment, and should be considered in determining whether Chaney was fired because of her race.
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Opinions July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Isaac Florian and Jeffrey Florian, as limited guardian of Isaac, an adult. v. GATX Rail Corporation
91A04-1002-PL-77
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of GATX Rail Corp. in Issac Florian’s negligence claim after he drove into a GATX tank car that didn’t have retro-reflective sheeting. GATX was in compliance with either retro-reflective implementation schedule even though the train car in question didn’t have sheeting yet. Florian’s common-law negligence claim is preempted by federal regulations set forth in 49.C.F.R. part 224.
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Opinions July 16, 2010

July 16, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tom George, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
09-3667
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of the plaintiffs’ entire second amendment complaint alleging the NCAA’s ticket-allocation process is an illegal lottery.
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Opinions July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Crisis Connection, Inc. v. Ronald Keith Fromme
19A05-0910-CR-602
Criminal. Affirms order Crisis Connections produce records to the court for an in camera review. An in camera review properly balances Fromme’s constitutional rights and the victims’ interest in privacy.
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Opinions July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Chubb Insurance Group, and Total Interior Systems America, LLC v. Elizabeth Howell

93A02-0912-EX-1287
Civil. Reverses penalties assessed against Eastern Alliance by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board due to a lack of diligence. The board’s factual findings demonstrate that Eastern Alliance reasonably investigated the claim and communicated with the parties, and afterwards it reasonably determined that it was not liable for the claim. Vacates penalties assessed against the company and remands that the board determine and enter an order regarding whether Chubb Insurance should be held responsible for the entirety of the penalty and attorneys’ fees awarded for its lack of diligence.
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Opinions July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Akens v. State of Indiana
49A05-0912-CR-687
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following guilty plea to child molesting. The trial court’s statement that Akens could appeal his sentence wasn’t made until after the court had accepted the plea agreement and entered Akens’ sentence. The agreement included his express waiver of his right to appeal his sentence.
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Opinions July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
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Opinions July 9, 2010

July 9, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Freddie L. Byers Jr. v. James Basinger, Superintendent of the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
09-1833
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Allen Sharp
Civil. Affirms District Court's denial of Byers' habeas petition. After a jury found Byers guilty of murder, attempted murder and robbery, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. The Indiana Court of Appeals denied his petition for post-conviction relief, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer. The District Court later denied Byers’ habeas petition, in which Byers argued that his trial counsel performed deficiently. The 7th Circuit granted Byers a certificate of appealability on the question whether he had been denied effective assistance of counsel. The 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial because, even if Byers successfully exhausted his claim, it lacks merit.
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Opinions July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals

Marcus Lewis v. State of Indiana
49A02-0909-CR-920
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Lewis received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel failed to timely file a written request for a jury trial. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions July 7, 2010

July 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: A.C. v. State of Indiana

49A04-0912-JV-682
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement if committed by an adult. A.C.’s simple failure to stand, without more, amounts to passive inaction and seems analogous to the failure to present one’s arms for handcuffing, which the Indiana Supreme Court has said does not constitute forcible resistance.
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Opinions July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derrick Bush v. State of Indiana
49A02-0907-CR-682
Criminal. After considering state’s claims of waiver as presented in its petition for rehearing, reaffirms original opinion reversing Bush’s conviction of carrying a handgun without a license. Court of Appeals originally reversed conviction after it held a canine sniff and resulting warrantless search of Bush’s automobile violated the Fourth Amendment because the state did not meet its burden of showing the traffic stop was not unreasonably prolonged or there was independent reasonable suspicion to justify the canine sniff.

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Opinions July 2, 2010

July 2, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifton Mauricio v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1002-PC-130
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Luiz Alves v. Old National Bank f/k/a St. Joseph Capital Bank
71A03-0909-CV-416
Civil. Affirms denial of Alves’ Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion. Because he filed his motion more than one year after the trial court granted summary judgment for Old National Bank and his earlier appeal of that judgment doesn’t toll the 1-year limit applicable to motions brought pursuant to subsections (1)-(4), his motion is untimely. In addition, the evidence on appeal doesn’t show the bank owed a duty to Alves or that the bank breached a duty by conspiring with his former business partner to remove him from their company.
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Opinions June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
League of Women Voters, et al. v. Todd Rokita

49S02-1001-CV-50
Civil. Affirms trial court dismissal of challenge to state’s voter identification law. The case presents only facial constitutional challenges. It is within the power of the legislature to require voters to present photo ID at the polls. Justice Boehm dissents.
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Opinions June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Andre Peoples v. State of Indiana
79S02-0912-CR-549
Criminal. Affirms finding Peoples is a habitual offender. People’s instant dealing offense is to be counted in calculating the total number of unrelated felony convictions an individual has for drug dealing. While a single felony drug conviction is not enough to qualify a person for habitual offender status, a second such conviction is, be it a prior conviction or the instant offense.
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Opinions June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Patrick Wilson and Billy Don Wilson v. Gene Isaacs, Sheriff of Cass County, and Brad Craven
09S05-1003-CV-149
Civil. Reverses grant of summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ liability claims against the sheriff for the conduct of Deputy Brad Craven. Affirms summary judgment for claims against Craven personally. Holds that a law enforcement officer's use of force in excess of the reasonable force authorized by statute is not shielded from liability under the "enforcement of a law" immunity provided in Indiana Code § 34-13-3-3(8) and that genuine issues of fact exist, precluding summary judgment. Chief Justice Shepard dissents without opinion.
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Opinions June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. v. Peter S. Bezich, individually and on behalf of a class of others similarly situated
10-8013
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen
Civil. Remands to state court. Concludes Bezich’s claim “relates to the rights, duties, ... and obligations relating to or created by or pursuant to ... [a] security,” as defined in the 1933 Act, therefore the District Court has no jurisdiction.

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Opinions June 25 2010 ILD

June 25, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. v. Peter S. Bezich, individually and on behalf of a class of others similarly situated
10-8013
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen
Civil. Remands to state court. Concludes Bezich’s claim “relates to the rights, duties, ... and obligations relating to or created by or pursuant to ... [a] security,” as defined in the 1933 Act, therefore the District Court has no jurisdiction.

Indiana Supreme Court posted no opinions before IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Weigand Construction Co. Inc. and Ohio Farmers Insurance Co. v. Stephens Fabrication Inc. and Ball State University Board of Trustees
18A02-0910-CV-953
Civil. Concludes Stephens’ claims against Weigand, Weigand’s Surety, and Ball State University survived bankruptcy proceedings. Therefore, Stephens is entitled to the unpaid sums under the base contract: $39,408.09 plus attorney fees, prejudgment interest including the periods of time before and during the bankruptcy proceeding, postjudgment interest, and costs of collection to Stephens. Also concludes Stephens’ claim for additional compensation was untimely under the terms of the relevant contracts and that Weigand is entitled to enforce the contractual provisions in this regard.

M.B. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1001-JV-59
Juvenile. Affirms M.B.’s commitment to the Indiana Department of Correction.

Involuntary Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of Z.H.; A.H. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
20A03-1002-JT-49
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

In the Matter of R.J.K., a child alleged to be a delinquent child v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-0909-JV-539
Juvenile. Affirms court’s finding that R.J.K. was a delinquent child who committed the offense of sexual battery, a Class D felony if committed by an adult.

Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions before IL deadline.

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Opinions June 24, 2010

June 24, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Douglas Covey v. State of Indiana
30A01-0906-CR-311
Criminal. Affirms convictions of dealing in methamphetamine as a Class A felony, possession of methamphetamine as a Class B felony, possession of methamphetamine as a Class B felony, possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of paraphernalia a Class A misdemeanor. The state presented sufficient evidence to prove that Crosby lived in an “apartment complex” and thus Covey delivered the methamphetamine and possessed the methamphetamine in or within 1,000 feet of a “family housing complex.” Because Covey never placed the mitigating factors of Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-16(b) at issue, the trial court did not commit fundamental error by not instructing the jury on those mitigating factors.
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Opinions June 24, 2010 ILD

June 24, 2010

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Donald Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
10A04-1001-PC-12
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Androuckoo Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-0911-CR-1108
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two Class A misdemeanors, one for domestic battery, and one for resisting law enforcement.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of G.W.; J.W. v. IDCS (NFP)
48A02-0910-JV-1042
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Carleon M. Ragsdale v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-0912-CR-595
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felonies criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement, and Class A misdemeanor possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer.

James Walsh v. State of Indiana (NFP)
52A05-0911-CR-667
Criminal. Reverses sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony burglary and admission to being a habitual offender. Remands with instructions.

R.D. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-0909-JV-840
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication for committing what would be Class D felony criminal recklessness if committed by an adult.

Anthony H. Taylor v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-0912-CR-602
Criminal. Reverses adjudication as a habitual offender.

Terrence Hopson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-0912-CR-1239
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary.

Virgil J. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A02-1001-CR-176
Criminal. Revises sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony robbery and remands for the trial court to order concurrent sentences for the robbery conviction and an unrelated case.

Robertson Developers v. Jerry Hodges, et al. (NFP)
18A02-0910-CV-1051
Civil. Affirms judgment in favor of defendants Hodges and others upon a claim for payment of lease. Remands for determination of reasonable attorney fees.

K. K. B. v. R. K. B. (NFP)
26A05-0910-CV-595
Civil. Affirms evidence supports all but one of the findings in the order entry awarding physical custody of children to father. Reverses finding that Mother did not adequately investigate S.B.’s allegation of sexual abuse is not supported by the evidence. Remands for the dissolution court to reconsider the remaining findings and the other evidence from the hearing on final custody in order to determine what physical custody order is in the children’s best interests, or, if no change to the custody award is indicated, to so state.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of J.K., et al.; S.K. v. IDCS (NFP)

71A03-1002-JT-94
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

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Opinions June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Medical Assurance Co., Inc. v. Amy Hellman, et al.
08-2887
U. S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Allen Sharp.
Civil. Medical Assurance appealed the District Court’s stay on the company’s declaratory judgment action. The company asked the court to declare that Dr. Mark Weinberger breached his contract obligations when he disappeared while on vacation and hasn’t been participating in his defense in more than 350 medical malpractice claims.
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Opinions June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Philip Cleer v. State of Indiana
49A02-0912-CR-1193
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content between 0.08 and 0.15. Cleer didn’t establish that the operation of a sobriety checkpoint violates the separation of powers provision of the Indiana Constitution.
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Opinions June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

Indiana Supreme Court
Christine Dugan v. Mittal Steel, USA, Inc., et al.
45S05-1002-CV-121
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Mittal Steel USA and Jay Komorowski. Of the two alleged occasions of defamation per se at issue, the one asserted in paragraph 7 of Dugan’s complaint does not constitute defamation per se. Although the statement alleged in paragraph 6 of the complaint qualifies as defamation per se, there is no genuine issue of fact undermining the defendants' claim of qualified privilege.

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Opinions June 17, 2010

June 17, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Russel Howard v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co.
87A01-0910-CV-512
Civil. Reverses grant of American Family’s motion to substitute the underinsured driver as the sole defendant at trial in Howard’s suit following an accident. Indiana law does not allow the underinsured driver’s substitution as a nominal defendant in these circumstances.
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Opinions June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.T. v. State of Indiana
49A04-0908-JV-484
Juvenile. Reverses modification of probation and commitment to the Department of Correction. The state presented no evidence of the probation violations it alleged and the state violated M.T.’s due process rights.
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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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