Opinions

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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Opinions Jan. 22, 2014

January 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Antoine Duff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1306-CR-503
Criminal. Affirms 16-year sentence, with 10 years executed and six years suspended, for Class B felony battery.
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Opinions Jan. 21, 2014

January 21, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lovoyne Drain
12-3684
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms above-guidelines sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon. Section 4A1.3(a)(3), like every provision of the sentencing guidelines, is advisory. And the judge did not violate Drain’s right to due process by taking into account his arrest history as part of her evaluation of the sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a).
 
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2014

January 20, 2014
The following Indiana Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday:
Marilyn South v. Harry South (NFP)
15A01-1306-DR-251
Domestic relation. Affirms dissolution of marriage and division of assets.

The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Tax Court and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2014

January 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shane L. Duckworth v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1304-CR-152
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.
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Opinions Jan. 16, 2014

January 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Floyd County and Floyd County Plan Commission v. City of New Albany and New Albany City Plan Commission
22A05-1303-MI-139
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment for the city on a lawsuit over whether the city or county has zoning jurisdiction over an unincorporated area outside the city limits. As a matter of law, the county is not entitled to exercise jurisdiction over the fringe area, nor is it required to consent to the city’s exercise of jurisdiction. Because the county has a population of less than 95,000, Indiana Code 36-7-4-205(f) determines which entity is entitled to exercise jurisdiction over the fringe area, and because the city is providing municipal services to the fringe area, it is entitled to the exercise of jurisdiction without the necessity of county approval.
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Opinions Jan. 15, 2014

January 15, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The City of Fort Wayne v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company and NiSource, Inc.
02A04-1307-CT-366
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for NIPSCO and NiSource on the city’s lawsuit after NIPSCO’s contractor damaged an underground drain, causing flooding. The city’s failure to discharge its statutory duties to provide accurate locations of its underground facilities to NIPSCO is dispositive of all claims on appeal.
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Opinions Jan. 14, 2014

January 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kimberly Spurling v. C&M Fine Pack, Inc.
13-1708
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana’s entry of summary judgment for C&M on the Family Medical Leave Act claim. Reverses the entry of summary judgment in favor of C&M on Spurling’s Americans with Disabilities Act claim and remands for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Rules the company did not actually fire Spurling until after it learned she had a medical condition that was covered under the ADA.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2014

January 13, 2014
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
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  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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