Opinions

Opinions June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Devon Groves v. United States of America
12-3253
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of Groves’ Section 2255 motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence of 240 months in prison for one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon. Finds Groves was provided with effective assistance of counsel.
 
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Opinions June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gabriel V. Mendoza v. United States of America
13-3195, 13-3196
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of Mendoza’s petition for relief from his drug convictions. He was not deprived due process when an interpreter relocated her position in the courtroom to translate for a witness nor was he provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions June 17, 2014

June 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cruisin', Inc., d/b/a Cruisin' Auto Sales v. Springleaf Financial Services of Indiana, Inc., f/k/a American General Financial Services
39A01-1309-CC-423
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of Springleaf. Finds Cruisin’ breached the terms of the contract by giving the title to the car buyer rather than mailing it to Springleaf. Remands to correct a scrivener’s error and enter the reimbursement amount at $2,659.02. Also remands to enter the judgment damage award against the dealership and buyer jointly and severally.
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Opinions June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
J.C. Jennings, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1310-CR-425
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.
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Opinions June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014
Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana
28S00-1305-LW-327
Criminal. Affirms in all respects the murder conviction and life without parole sentence for Randy L. Knapp in the killing of Stacey Lawson. The court rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony were improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and nature of his offense.
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Opinions June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gabriel McQuay v. State of Indiana
49A02-1311-CR-954
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony criminal confinement and Class A misdemeanor battery. Under an objective analysis, the circumstances of the encounter as well as the statements and actions of R.S. and Officer Travis Williams indicate that the primary purpose of the interrogation was to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. As such, R.S.’s identification of herself and McQuay were not testimonial statements. The Confrontation Clause did not bar their admission at McQuay’s trial.
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Opinions June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014
Shannon Robinson and Bryan Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange
49S02-1311-PL-733
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Erie Insurance on the issue of whether its automobile policy provided uninsured motorists coverage for automobile property damaged caused by a hit-and-run driver where no personal injury resulted. Because personal injury did not result in the accident, the Erie policy does not provide uninsured motorist coverage with respect to the property damage sustained by the Robinsons’ vehicle.
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Opinions June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Grandberry v. Brian Smith, superintendent, Plainfield Correctional Facility
12-2081
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses discipline and revocation of 30 days of Grandberry’s good-time credits for unauthorized use of an electronic device. Remands with instructions to issue a writ of habeas corpus restoring Grandberry’s good-time credits. Library staff asked him to use the computer to fill out forms that he was not supposed to complete as head inmate law clerk.
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Opinions June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Matthew Whitfield v. International Truck and Engine Corp.
13-1876
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms in part and reverses in part ruling in favor of International Truck and Engine Corp. on Whitfield’s action alleging discrimination in failure to hire and violations of the Civil Rights Act. The District Court ignored some evidence or made conclusions not supported by the evidence. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions June 6, 2014

June 6, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of Labor ex rel Vincent Scialdone and Antimo Scialdone v. An Island, LLC (NFP)
62A01-1312-PL-548
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court decision to not order An Island LLC to pay any 2010 wages to Antimo or Vincent Scialdone and to not award the plaintiffs attorney fees.
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Opinions June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Jaklin Idris and Dariana Kamenova v. Marion County Assessor
49T10-1108-TA-49
Tax. Finds the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err in upholding the 2006 assessment of Idris’ and Kamenova’s condominium unit. Rejects their claims the board abused its discretion in finding that Kamenova failed to establish that their property was entitled to an obsolescence adjustment, and in determining that the assessments of the three other units in their building failed to show that their property was over-assessed; and that the board erred in upholding their assessment given the assessor’s improper use of the “one unit multiple units” classification.
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Opinions June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014
Lori Nicklas v. Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber; and Von Tobel Lumber Company, Inc.
64A03-1310-CC-429
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Von Tobel Corp. and the denial of Nicklas’ motion for summary judgment on the company’s action to recover money owed on a promissory note executed by Nicklas and her husband. An agreed judgment against one obligor does not merge and extinguish the obligation of another person jointly and severally liable on the same contract, so Van Tobel was free to seek a judgment against Lori Nicklas after an agreed judgment with Shawn Nicklas had been entered.
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Opinions June 3, 2014

June 3, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Virginia E. Alldredge and Julia A. Luker, as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Venita Hargis v. The Good Samaritan Home, Inc.
82S01-1305-CT-363
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment, holding that a wrongful death claim against Good Samaritan may proceed. Holds that the Fraudulent Concealment Statute may apply to the Wrongful Death Act’s two-year filing period. Remands for proceedings.
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Opinions June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Brummett v. State of Indiana
49A02-1304-CR-378
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B and Class C felony child molesting and three counts of Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor. The panel found the prosecutor’s continual misconduct constituted fundamental error that placed Brummett in grave peril. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Paternity of V.A., (Minor Child), R.A. v. B.Y.
39A04-1310-JP-512
Juvenile. Affirms a special judge’s ruling that the judge who heard evidence remanded to the trial court from an earlier appeal should rule on the remanded issues, as required by Trial Rule 63(A). The panel rejected father R.A.’s objection claiming that his change-of-judge request trumps that rule, finding that the change-of-judge rule only applies prospectively, while Rule 63(A) operates retroactively to ensure that the remanded issues are considered by the judge who heard the evidence.
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Opinions May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Stacy Smith and Robert Smith, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Johnny Dupree Smith, Deceased v. Delta Tau Delta, Inc. and Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, et al.
54S01-1405-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of national fraternity Delta Tau Delta on the Smiths’ wrongful death complaint. There is no designated evidentiary material that shows that the national fraternity had a right to exercise direct day-to-day oversight and control of the behavior of the activities of the local fraternity and its members. Concludes as a matter of law that an agency relationship does not exist between the national fraternity and the local fraternity or its members.
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Opinions May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Bunn v. Khoury Enterprises Inc.
13-2292
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Bunn’s former employer, a Dairy Queen franchise, on his claims that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bunn’s failure-to-accommodate claim falls short because his employer did reasonably accommodate his disability. His disparate treatment claim fails because he has not introduced sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of material fact and because the undisputed facts show that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
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Opinions May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Alden v. State of Indiana
30A05-1309-MI-463
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of motion to prohibit the release of Alden’s criminal record. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion on the basis that the Legislature had repealed I.C. 35-38-8-3. Remands for the trial court to consider the merits of his motion.
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Opinions May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andrew J. Rogers v. Sigma Chi International Fraternity, Theta Pi of Sigma Chi, Ancil Jackson, Brian Mifflin, Jr., and Joshua Kearby
84A04-1305-CT-224
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Sigma Chi International fraternity, its Terre Haute chapter and Jackson, Mifflin and Kearby on Rogers’ claim the defendants should have protected him from being assaulted at a party. Sigma Chi did not have possession of the premises where Rogers was injured, the defendants had no duty to protect him from the assault, and the International fraternity was not vicariously liable for the acts of the persons at the premises because it had no actual or apparent authority over them.
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Opinions May 22, 2014

May 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Yellowbook Inc. f/k/a Yellow Book Sales and Distribution Company, Inc. v. Central Indiana Cooling and Heating, Inc. and Lawrence E. Stone a/k/a Larry Stone
30A05-1311-CC-561
Civil collection. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands with instructions. The trial court erred when it concluded that Yellow Book failed to credit certain Central Indiana Cooling and Heating payments under Contracts 1 and 2; Contract 3 was induced by fraud and is rescinded; and Yellow Book is entitled to pre-judgment interest and reasonable attorney fees for amounts owed under Contracts 1 and 2.
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Opinions May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jacob Herron v. State of Indiana
56A03-1306-CR-210
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony receiving stolen property. The jury may have relied on the impeachment evidence as substantive evidence in this case. Remands for retrial, if the state chooses. Judge Riley dissents in part, finding enough circumstantial evidence to convict Herron.
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Opinions May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H.
82A01-1309-AD-404
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s judgment that the natural parents’ consent was not necessary in the adoption of their child, J.M. Concludes the trial court did not err when it held a consent hearing which essentially terminated the rights of the natural parents. Also finds the trial court did consider the best interests of the child and that the trial court did not need to consider the natural parents’ fitness at the time of the consent hearing and again at the adoption hearing. 
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Opinions May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Van Buren Township, Madison County, Boone Township, Madison County, The Summitville Fire Protection Territory v. Department of Local Government Finance
49T10-1104-TA-27
Tax. Affirms Department of Local Government Finance denial of creation of the Summitville Fire Protection Territory because of defects in a legal advertisement to provide notice of a public hearing at which two townships proposed creation of the fire district and its authority to levy taxes. The court rejected arguments that each township published notice of the meeting on the same day in the same newspaper, so therefore a reasonable person would not have been misled by the defective legal notice.
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Opinions May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Steven B. Geller
49S00-1106-DI-318
Attorney discipline. Disbars Geller for 12 violations of the Rules of Professional conduct, including violations arising from his physical confrontation at the courthouse with an ex-client who he believed owed him money. Disbarment is warranted in light of Geller’s history of misconduct, unsuccessful prior attempt at rehabilitation, inability to manage anger, and dishonesty toward the Court and the Disciplinary Commission. Justice Mark Massa concurred in part and dissented in part and would have recommended a three-year suspension without automatic reinstatement.
 
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Opinions May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Hoosier Roll Shop Services, LLC v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1104-TA-29
Tax. Grants summary judgment in favor of Hoosier Roll and against the Department of State Revenue. Finds Hoosier Roll produces other tangible personal property when it grinds and calibrates its customers’ work rolls.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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