Opinions

Opinions Oct. 16, 2014

October 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana State Ethics Commission, Office of Inspector General, and David Thomas, in his Official Capacity as Inspector General v. Patricia Sanchez
49S02-1402-PL-80
Civil plenary. Affirms State Ethics Commission’s decision that Sanchez’s conduct – keeping several items that were state property after she was fired from the Department of Workforce Development – ran afoul of an administrative rule and that she should be barred from future state executive branch employment. Double jeopardy does not bar the proceeding before the commission, the criminal court’s probable cause determination is not binding upon the commission, and there is substantial independent evidence to support the commission’s decision.
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Opinions Oct. 15, 2014

October 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Randy M. Swisher v. Porter County Sheriff’s Dept., et al.
13-3602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of the defendants on Swisher’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint that he was denied medical care during his nine-month stint in jail. The magistrate judge, while fully crediting the plaintiff’s testimony at an evidentiary hearing, erred in dismissing Swisher’s suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
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Opinions Oct. 14, 2014

October 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Earthman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1404-CR-147
Criminal. Affirms 12-year sentence for Class B felony robbery.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2014

October 13, 2014
There are no opinions Monday because the courts are closed in observance of Columbus Day.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2014

October 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Susan A. Snyder v. Town of Yorktown, Delaware County Surveyor, Delaware County Drainage Board, Randall Miller & Associates, Inc., and Watson Excavating, Inc.
18A02-1405-CT-332
Civil tort. Reverses grant of the defendants’ motion to dismiss Snyder’s complaint regarding inverse condemnation because her complaint sufficiently states a claim for it. Affirms dismissal as it relates to her claim for trespass because the allegations in her complaint fail to establish any circumstances under which she would be entitled to relief for trespass. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 9, 2014

October 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stacey D. Cox v. State of Indiana
29A05-1312-CR-637
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony involuntary manslaughter and Class B misdemeanor operating a child care home without a license. The state presented sufficient evidence that Cox operated a child care home under I.C. 12-17.2-5-28.6.
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2014

October 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney A. Richard v. State of Indiana
46A05-1312-CR-628
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public park, but reverses Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. The state did not offer sufficient evidence to prove he committed dealing within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. Remands for the trial court to enter a conviction as a Class B felony and resentence him on that count.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2014

October 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Evansville Courier & Press and Rita Ward v. Vanderburgh County Health Department
82S04-1401-PL-49
Civil plenary. Reverses determination by trial court and finds death certificates which include the cause of death are public records. Holds a plain reading of the state statute denies public viewing of death information at the Indiana State Department of Health but gives private citizens access to death records at the local county health department. Remands for summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor and to determine award of attorney fees.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2014

October 6, 2014
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2014

October 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eve Carson v. Stacy Palombo
49A02-1312-PL-1052
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Palombo on Carson’s claims of defamation per se, defamation per quod and invasion of privacy by false light based upon Palombo’s comments regarding a YouTube video Carson posted criticizing the investigation of her sister-in-law’s decades-old murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Carson’s motion to amend her complaint to include facts she knew but omitted at the time her original complaint was filed to defeat a grant of summary judgment in Palombo’s favor. There is no genuine issue of material fact that Carson’s claimed damages were incurred as a consequence of alleged defamatory statements, and in the light of other videos Carson posted on YouTube, she was cast in essentially the same light as Palombo’s comment.
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Opinions Oct. 2, 2014

October 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Campbell v. State of Indiana
89A04-1312-CR-634
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the order granting the state’s motion to withdraw from guilty plea. By refusing to testify at his co-defendant’s trial, Campbell failed to tender the consideration specifically contemplated in the plea agreement. Thus, it would deprive the state of its end of the bargain to sentence Campbell in accordance with a contract that he did not fully satisfy.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2014

October 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Corbin v. State of Indiana
75S03-1401-CR-13
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of a motion to dismiss a charge of attempted child seduction and remands for further proceedings. Whether Corbin’s Facebook communications propositioning a 16-year-old student for sex constituted the required substantial step toward the crime is a question not ripe for dismissal on interlocutory appeal. Justices found the charges match the statutory elements sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss at this time.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2014

September 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Irene Harper
49A04-1307-PL-316
Civil plenary. Denies transfer to Zavodink’s appeal of the dismissal of his appeal for failure to file a timely brief and appendix. Offers guidance to courts on how to deal with prolific, abusive litigants.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan L. Good v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA.
20A03-1401-MF-14
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo and the subsequent judgment of foreclosure. The bank has not shown its status as holder of the promissory note signed by Good for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2014

September 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shacare Terry v. Community Health Network, Inc.
49A04-1312-PL-630
Civil plenary.  Affirms dismissal of Terry’s claim of breach of duty against Community Hospital, but reverses dismissal of intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The breach of duty claim is, in substance, a medical malpractice claim, so the court did not have jurisdiction because it had not been submitted to the medical review panel yet. The trial court had subject matter over Terry’s emotional distress claim.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2014

September 25, 2014
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Scott Logan v. State of Indiana
20S05-1405-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony child molesting and six-year sentence. Although the trial court technically complied with Criminal Rule 4(C), Logan’s 1,291-day delay between the filing of the charge and the beginning of his trial violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Orders Logan released from incarceration and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert L. Hauck and Mark Wood v. City of Indianapolis
49A04-1403-PL-136
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis on Hauck’s and Wood’s complaint regarding the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s failure to promote them to captain. The word “endeavor” as used in the ordinance means to “attempt to,” and the plaintiffs failed to show the city did not maintain proportional representation of former Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Indianapolis Police Department officers throughout the divisions and appointed ranks of IMPD as contemplated by the revised code.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2014

September 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Branham Corporation v. Newland Resources, LLC; Samuel Sutphin; White River Funding Corp.; et al; Thomas N. Eckerle; Thomas N. Eckerle Prof. Corp. v. The Branham Corporation
06A05-1311-CT-572
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s summary judgment order in favor of the defendants. Reverses the order dismissing attorney Thomas Eckerle without prejudice and remands for entry of summary judgment in favor of Eckerle. Finds the trial court correctly determined the defendants were entitled to summary judgment because Branham filed its complaint for nonpayment of damages after the two-year statute of limitations had run.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2014

September 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Trezanay M. Atkins
49S00-1306-DI-435.
Attorney discipline. Suspends Atkins for two years without automatic reinstatement, finding she violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
 
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2014

September 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
City of Mitchell v. Randy Phelix
47A01-1402-PL-88
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of its complaint for a declaratory judgment related to former Mitchell city policeman Randy Phelix’s claim for medical expenses due to disabilities resulting from dismantling methamphetamine labs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred when it ruled that Phelix was entitled to have the city pay his medical bills under I.C. 36-8-4-5 despite the worker’s compensation carrier’s denial of his claim.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Frank Greene
49S02-1403-PC-172
Post conviction. Reverses grant of post-conviction relief, which would have reduced Greene’s Class B felony criminal confinement conviction to a Class D felony. Greene did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel due to his attorneys’ failure to present allegedly controlling precedent from this court. Greene mischaracterizes the application of Long v. State.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2014

September 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert P. Benavides v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1405-PC-318
Post conviction. Affirms dismissal of petition for writ of state habeas corpus.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2014

September 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Willie Jenkins v. Mary Jenkins
49A02-1403-DR-132
Domestic relation. Reverses grant of Mary Jenkins’ motion to vacate a contempt hearing. It was not in the interests of justice for the trial court to ignore its rule of allowing 15 days to respond and granting her motion prior to allowing Willie Jenkins time for response. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 15, 2014

September 15, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeremiah Lee Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
21A01-1405-CR-192
Criminal.  Affirms revocation of probation.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2014

September 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Marriage of Tina M. Harpenau v. Robin P. Harpenau
62A01-1401-DR-37
Domestic relation.  Affirms grant of father’s petition to modify, awarding him primary physical custody of the children and granting mother the same parenting time as father originally had, as well as that mother pay child support. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying custody due to her proposed move or in modifying child support accordingly.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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