Opinions

Opinions Feb. 26, 2014

February 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robin Harper v. State of Indiana
49A04-1305-CR-222
Criminal. Reverses Harper’s Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement conviction. Officers Gillespie and Hartman unlawfully entered Harper’s residence, therefore, the officers were not engaged in the lawful execution of their duties at the time they arrested Harper and then attempted to remove her wedding ring in preparation for booking.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2014

February 25, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Kindred, Thomas Kindred, and Sam Kindred v. Betty Townsend and Harmon Crone
60A01-1304-PL-156
Civil plenary. Dismisses interlocutory appeal as untimely. Finds the arguments the Kindreds raised in appealing the denial of their motion to dissolve were based on information that was available when the trial court granted the preliminary injunction six months prior. Still, the COA notes it has ruled only that the Kindreds forfeited their right to an interlocutory appeal by failing to timely file. The Kindreds may yet attack the trial court’s interlocutory orders on appeal from the final judgment.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2014

February 24, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
University of Notre Dame v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, et. al. and Jane Doe 1, et al.
13-3853
Civil. Affirms on interlocutory appeal denial of an injunction blocking enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, holding that the requirement that the university submit a form opting out of paying for contraception services for women did not trigger provision of those services which insurers are required to provide under the law. Circuit Judge Joel Flaum dissented, holding that Notre Dame has shown a likelihood of success on the merits and he would therefore reverse the order denying the injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2014

February 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: TLC, a Child Alleged to be a Delinquent Child v. State of Indiana
60A01-1308-JV-377
Juvenile. Affirms commitment of TLC to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds TLC did not receive unequal treatment and his due process rights were not violated. Rules that the juvenile court had an adequate factual basis to conclude that TLC was guilty of what would be the crime of resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor, if committed by an adult. Concludes the state sufficiently proved that TLC committed what would have been battery, a Class B misdemeanor, had it been committed by an adult. 
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2014

February 20, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
James T. Mitchell v. 10th and The Bypass, LLC and Elway, Inc.
53S01-1303-PL-222
Civil plenary. Evidence obtained after the entry of an order granting a motion for partial summary judgment may not form the basis for vacating that order on the grounds that a non-final order is subject to revision at any time before the entry of a final judgment. Also concludes that relief from judgment under Ind. Trial Rules is not limited only to final judgments.
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Opinions Feb. 19, 2014

February 19, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. William Coats
49S02-1305-CR-328
Criminal. Remands to the trial court with an order to commit Coats to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. I.C. 35-36-3-1(b) requires trial courts to commit defendants found not competent to stand trial to the DMHA for competency restoration services.
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Opinions Feb. 18, 2014

February 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tanner Piotrowski v. State of Indiana
46A03-1306-CR-222
Criminal. Affirms denial of Piotrowski’s motion to exclude any evidence or testimony from the state Department of Toxicology. After reviewing the relevant statutes, finds that the Legislature intended I.C. 10-20-2-7 to effectuate a transfer of control of the Department of Toxicology from the Indiana University School of Medicine to the state of Indiana. Although the Legislature transferred rulemaking authority to the state, it did not specifically require the state to promulgate a new set of rules regarding breath testing and gave the state discretion to rely upon the rules previously in existence. The court did not err when it denied Piotrowski’s motion to exclude.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2014

February 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rakiea McCaskill v. State of Indiana
49A02-1306-CR-480
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor intimidation. The state did not provide sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McCaskill committed Class A misdemeanor intimidation as charged. The state did produce sufficient evidence that McCaskill committed Class B misdemeanor harassment. Remands to the trial court with instructions to vacate McCaskill’s judgment of conviction for intimidation and to enter a judgment of conviction for McCaskill for Class B misdemeanor harassment.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2014

February 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Teaching Our Posterity Success, Inc. v. Indiana Department of Education and Indiana State Board of Education
49A05-1308-PL-386
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of Teaching Our Posterity Success’ petition for judicial review challenging a decision by the Department of Education and State Board of Education to remove TOPS from its list of approved supplemental educational services providers. Remands to the DOE for the entry of statutorily mandated findings and conclusions to accompany its final order regarding TOPS.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2014

February 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Yost v. Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity- Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Nathan Cravens
54S01-1303-CT-161
Civil tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment for the campus fraternity but affirms summary judgment for the college and national fraternity organization in the personal injury action brought by a fraternity pledge seeking damages for injuries sustained in an incident at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Holds that the designated evidence shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that Wabash College and the national fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., are each entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, but that as to the local fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity – Indiana Gamma Chapter at Wabash College, there remain genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. Justice Rucker concurs in part and dissents in part. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Feb. 12, 2014

February 12, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of S.D., Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services, J.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
49S05-1309-JC-585
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that S.D. is a child in need of services. S.D. and her siblings were legitimately in need of services when DCS filed its petitions. But by the fact-finding hearing, mother had voluntarily addressed all but one of those concerns to the trial court’s satisfaction. In view of that judgment, the remaining evidence fails to show that mother was likely to need the court’s coercive intervention to complete that final item — and when that coercion is not necessary, the state may not intrude into a family’s life.
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Opinions Feb. 11, 2014

February 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council; VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council
82S01-1306-CT-436 and 82S01-1306-PL-437
Civil. Strikes down an amended Evansville smoking ban that exempted the Aztar riverboat casino in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Mark Massa and Steven David held that the exception violated Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because it conferred a privilege on the casino that wasn’t extended to similarly situated bars, taverns and clubs. Dissenting Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker found the casino’s inherent characteristics of producing a large flow of revenue and attracting a mostly out-of-town clientele placed it in a distinct group from the tavern and club establishment that challenged the exemption.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2014

February 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timmothy Williams
13-1260
Criminal. Vacates sentence for convictions related to identity theft and remands to the District Court. In accordance with the ruling in Peugh v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072, 2078 (2013), sentencing guidelines that were stricter than those in place at the time Williams committed the crime were improperly applied when he was sentenced to 56 months in prison for identity theft convictions plus 24 months for aggravated identity theft. Remands to sentence Williams to 30 to 37 months in prison – the range under the guidelines in place at the time of his offenses.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2014

February 7, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, et al.
12-3428
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants in a civil rights suit alleging police used excessive force when they shot Gary Helman, ending an armed standoff that began when authorities attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest at his home in Cromwell. Helman’s § 1983 complaint cannot survive summary judgment because he pleaded guilty to a class D felony count of resisting law enforcement in which evidence showed authorities only fired after Helman reached for his firearm.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2014

February 6, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, City of Indianapolis, Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc., et. al.
49S04-1301-PL-8
Civil plenary. Holds that a private, for-profit company under the circumstances of this case is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from a fire that destroyed a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Accordingly, affirms the trial court’s rulings that Veolia is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity and that the city is not entitled to statutory sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from an inadequate water supply in the hydrants near the restaurant. The city is entitled to common law sovereign immunity, so reverses holding that the city is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity.
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Opinions Feb. 5, 2014

February 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kendale L. Adams, et al. v City of Indianapolis
12-1874
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, affirms entry of summary judgment for the city on the officers’ disparate-treatment claims because the plaintiffs had not produced any evidence that using the test results to make promotions was a pretext for discrimination. Affirms dismissal of new claims brought as barred by res judicata because the same eligibility list generated by the testing process was at issue in the first case.
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Opinions Feb. 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Smith v. Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, et al.
13-1939
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Smith’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a policy that requires a permit before gathering on commission properties. The new policy, revised shortly after the District Court denied the motion, retains the problematic features of the old policy. Also, Smith has met the requirements for obtaining a preliminary injunction. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2014

February 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Rinehart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-236
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of a handgun without a license.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2014

January 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timothy L. Richards
12-3763
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, maintaining a residence or place for the purpose of using and distributing controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. There was no error in allowing the government to introduce seized evidence, finding Richards’ 86-year-old uncle had authority to consent to a search of the bedroom where Richards stayed.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2014

January 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Matter of C.L., a Delinquent v. State of Indiana
05A04-1306-JV-319
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that C.L. is delinquent for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor intimidation if committed by an adult. It was not established that C.L. committed intimidation for a prior lawful act. The evidence established that the alleged threats C.L. directed toward his grandfather were aimed at influencing future conduct, rather that in retaliation for past conduct. Judge Najam dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 29, 2014

January 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cory L. Meadows v. State of Indiana
39A01-1305-CR-215
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Meadows’ request for credit for the time he served on electronic monitoring while he was in the drug court program. After examining the statutory provisions governing sentencing, electronic monitoring and deferral programs, concludes it was within the court’s discretion to deny the credit toward his sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 28, 2014

January 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bitler Investment Venture II, LLC, et al. v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, et al.
12-3722.
Civil. Affirms in part, reverses in part a $269,000 judgment in favor of Bitler. Remands with instructions to double damages awarded under Michigan’s laws regarding doctrine of waste for properties that Marathon failed to maintain and were ultimately condemned. Reverses dismissal of certain contract claims and remands to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for trial on those issues.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2014

January 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Annex Books Inc, et al. v. City of Indianapolis
13-1500.
Civil. Reverses District Court order upholding a city of Indianapolis ordinance limiting the hours of adult bookstores to 10 a.m. to midnight, Monday-Saturday. Remands to the District Court with instructions to enter injunction against enforcement of the closure ordinance. Finds that in light of prior Supreme Court jurisprudence, the city cannot restrict the distribution of material that might be objectionable but is not obscene. The city’s argument that the closure ordinance had reduced instances of armed robberies near the bookstore locations was “weak as a statistical matter,” the court ruled.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
Jan. 24, 2014
Indiana Tax Court

William W. Thorsness v. Porter County Assessor
49T10-1102-TA-14
Tax. Affirms final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review regarding Thorsness’ 2007 real property assessment. The burden-shifting rule contained in Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-1(p) and its progeny applies only to valuation challenges, not to uniform and equal constitutional challenges. Concludes that the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err by determining that Thorsness’ ratio study did not demonstrate that the assessor’s assessment lacked uniformity.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2014

January 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
A.J.R. v. State of Indiana
46A03-1306-JV-243
Juvenile. Holds that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the officer’s testimony, and the evidence is sufficient to prove A.J.R. shot two cattle and to sustain his adjudications for criminal mischief. However, concluding A.J.R.’s actions did not constitute mutilation or torture of an animal, the court reverses his adjudications for cruelty to an animal.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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