Opinions

Opinions, Sept. 6, 2013

September 6, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Scott Weigle and April Weigle v. SPX Corp.
12-3024 and John Moore, II and Corinne Moore v. SPX Corp.

12-3025
Civil. Vacates a district court grant of summary judgment for SPX Corp. on a complaint seeking damages due design defects on a semi-truck trailer support stand from which a trailer fell on mechanics. Affirms the district court judgment of summary judgment with respect to inadequate-warning claims.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2013

September 5, 2013

Opinions, Sept. 5, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ezekier Breaziel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-CR-731
Criminal. Dismisses Breaziel’s interlocutory appeal of the denial of his motion to dismiss the charges against. Concludes sua sponte the COA lacks authority under the appellate rules to accept jurisdiction of Breaziel’s appeal.

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Opinions Sept. 4, 2013

September 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua Basey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A01-1301-CR-40
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.
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Opinions August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
John W. Schoettmer & Karen Schoettmer v. Jolene C. Wright & South Central Community Action Program, Inc.
49S04-1210-CT-607
Civil Tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment in defendants favor and remands for further proceedings. Rules even though the Schoettmers filed their law suit against South Central well past the Indiana Tort Claims Act’s 180-day deadline, they should be allowed to present proof of estoppel to the trial court. Finds South Central never told John Schoettmer it was covered by the Act and that South Central’s insurer did not make a settlement offer until nearly three months after the ITCA deadline.
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Opinions August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Court of Appeals

Stephanie Murry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in Marion County Community Corrections
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Opinions August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Butler et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
11-8029, 12-8030
Civil. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, reinstates class-action certification for two claims regarding front-loading Kenmore washing machines sold by Sears: that design defects created odor-producing mold and cause the machine to stop at inopportune times. Applying the SCOTUS holding in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013), the court held that a single common issue of liability ran through class action claims: whether the washers were defective.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2013

August 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger A. Buchanan and Susan Buchanan v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc.
39A01-1211-MF-515
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of HSBC Mortgage Services, holding that even if a mortgage was not properly acknowledged, the Buchanans don’t deny that they executed a mortgage and note when they purchased their home, on which they stopped making mortgage payments in 2007. The Buchanans’ arguments therefore are without merit.
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Opinions, Aug. 21, 2013

August 21, 2013
Opinions – Aug. 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals

Rodney Melton v. State of Indiana
49A02-1212-CR-1008
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, rejecting an argument that the dissemination statute requires a “performance” under that law be public. The court also found Melton’s 11-year aggregate sentence was not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense.
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Mom loses bid to bar DCS child interviews after clean home check

August 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
A mother who challenged a court order granting the Department of Child Services’ petitions to interview her minor children lost her appeal Wednesday, despite her argument that a DCS inspection of her home and her screening found no evidence of drug abuse that had been alleged in a complaint.
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Opinions Aug. 20, 2013

August 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carl J. Brandenburg v. State of Indiana
40A04-1301-CR-23
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation for failure to pay child support after conviction of a Class C felony charge of non-support of a dependent child, but remands to the trial court for a recalculation of the arrearage. The court found that Brandenburg’s daughter had turned 21 before he was charged, and the state acknowledged uncertainty about the ruling that the arrearage was $17,795.05, rather than an amount closer to $10,000, as Brandenburg claims.
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Opinions Aug. 19, 2013

August 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derik A. Blocker and Tammi Blocker v. U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for the Certificateholders Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust Inc. Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificate Series 2007-AHL3
45A03-1211-MF-479
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment to U.S. Bank, holding that no issues of material fact exist, and discards arguments that appeared to stem from “Redemptionist” movement theory claiming that debts could be settled through claims made to the United States Treasury. 
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2013

August 15, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. James Simon
11-1837
Criminal. Affirms jury conviction from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, on charges of filing false income tax returns, failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts, mail fraud and financial aid fraud. There was a legal basis for his convictions, and the District Court did not err in limiting defense evidence regarding some of the charges or in rulings on jury instruction.
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Opinions August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013
Opinions Aug. 13, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rollett Family Farms, LLC. v. Area Plan Commission of Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners, and Vanderburgh County Recorder

82A01-1301-PL-43
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court judgment denying claims that “lots of record” for boundaries of river camps could be established based on the testimony of longtime residents. The lack of official documentation defeats the plain meaning of the words “of record,” requiring some sort of official documentation in the public record, the panel ruled.
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Opinions August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas H. Hurlow v. United States of America
12-1374
Criminal. Reverses the district court’s denial of Hurlow’s 2255 petition and remands for further proceedings. Rules Hurlow’s allegation - he would not have entered into the plea agreement had his counsel informed him of his potentially meritorious Fourth Amendment claim - was sufficient to overcome the wavier in his plea agreement not to contest his conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255.
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Opinions Aug. 9, 2013

August 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Paul Hester v. Indiana State Department of Health
12-3207
Civil. Affirms District Court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Department of Health. The panel held that there was evidence that Hester was fired for cause, and that Hester failed to produce evidence showing age, race or gender discrimination supporting his claim that his firing violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e17.
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Opinions Aug. 8, 2013

August 8, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Mary Alice Manley, and Gary Manley v. Ryan J. Sherer, M.D., and Sherer Family Medicine, P.C.
59S01-1205-PL-249
Civil plenary/medical malpractice. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants and remands for further proceedings, finding issues of material facts exist as to when plaintiffs knew of alleged malpractice or learned of the facts that should lead to the discovery of malpractice and resulting injury. Summary judgment should have been denied as to the defendants’ claim of absence of an element of causation necessary to establish liability.
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Opinions Aug. 7, 2013

August 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Muncie, an Indiana Non-Profit Corporation v. Yonghong Cheng and Hongjun Niu, Husband and Wife, as parents of Matthew Cheng, deceased
18A02-1210-CT-791
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Westminster in regard to an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Reverses denial of summary judgment on wrongful death and invasion-of-privacy claims and remands with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of Westminster. Finds although the church recommended the babysitter, in whose care Matthew Cheng died, it did not owe a duty to the Cheng family as a matter of law. Also, rules the church’s publicizing the death did not invade on the Chengs’ privacy because the church did not reap any commercial value from doing so.
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Opinions Aug. 5, 2013

August 5, 2013
Brad Kroft v. State of Indiana
49A04-1211-CR-593
Criminal. Reverses and remands on interlocutory appeal denial of a motion to suppress, holding that a state trooper who stopped a motorist because a working tail lamp had a dime-sized hole that emitted white light did not have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop that resulted in two charges: Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of 0.15 or more, and Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
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Opinions Aug. 1, 2013

August 1, 2013
Luxury Townhomes, LLC/LP XXIV, LLC, et al. v. McKinley Properties, Inc. and Kenneth Polsinelli
49A05-1210-MF-514
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms denial of Luxury’s motion to correct error. Rules that since the trial court already held a hearing, accepted the receiver’s final report and discharged the receiver, the doctrine of res judicata precluded Luxury from filing a separate motion against the receiver.
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Opinions July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sikiru Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC
12-3820
Civil/Religious discrimination. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Heartland and remands to the District Court for proceedings, holding that a material issue of fact exists as to whether Sikiru Adeyeye’s rights under Title VII were violated when he was fired after taking time off work to attend his father’s burial rights in Nigeria. 
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Opinions July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re the Adoption of: P.A.H., f/k/a P..V., Minor Child, B.D. and L.H.C., v. J.H.
79A02-1302-AD-183
Adoption. Reverses trial court’s order granting post-adoption visitation to P.H.’s biological uncle, J.H. Finds the lower court lacked authority to grant post-adoption visitation rights to J.H. since he is not within any statutory category of persons entitled to visitation rights.
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Opinions July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert L. Murray v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1205-PC-274
Post conviction. Affirms COA’s memorandum decision. Grants Murray’s petition for a rehearing to address the two omitted issues regarding false testimony. Concludes the testimony was not false and the court’s omitted reference to Murray’s final motion to amend his petition is immaterial and, therefore, not a basis for relief.
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Opinions July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jermaine Marcel Nash v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1210-CR-553
Criminal. Reverses conviction of criminal confinement, a Class C felony, and remands case to the trial court to vacate the conviction and amend Nash’s sentence accordingly. Rules Nash’s convictions for attempted rape and criminal confinement violate the principles of double jeopardy.
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Opinions July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jama Mire and Hassan Rafle
12-2792, 12-2793
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms both men’s convictions of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cathinone; affirms Mire’s additional convictions of knowingly using or maintaining a place for the purpose of distributing and using cathinone; and possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing cathinone. Rejects claims that that their due process rights were violated because they were not given fair warning that the possession of “khat” may be illegal.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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