Opinions

Opinions Oct. 2, 2015

October 2, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Courtney R. Robbins v. The Trustees of Indiana University and Clarian Health Partners, Inc.
49A04-1412-CT-583
Civil tort. Affirms summary judge in favor of the Trustees of Indiana University and Clarian Health Partners Inc. This suit was filed after Tiffaney DeBow, a licensed practical nurse, accessed Robbins’ medical files and posted them on the Internet. The COA ruled Clarian is not vicariously liable for DeBow’s actions because she was not directly employed by Clarian. Similarly finds IU is not subject to vicarious liability because DeBow was acting outside the scope of her employment. Holds IU is not guilty of negligent hiring. Judge Terry Crone concurs in part and concurs in result in part. He urges the Indiana Supreme Court to revisit invasion of privacy precedent in light of today’s rapidly changing technology. 

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Opinions Oct. 1, 2015

October 1, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Lee DeGroot v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
45A03-1412-CR-457
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony voluntary manslaughter.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2015

September 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Matter of the Petition to Expunge Conviction Records of James D. Borel v. State of Indiana
41A01-1412-MI-533
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of Borel’s motion to correct error as the denial was against logic, facts and circumstances presented. There is insufficient evidence that he still owed $37 in court costs stemming from a 1976 case.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2015

September 29, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Defender Security Company v. First Mercury Insurance Company
14-1805
U.S. District court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms First Mercury Insurance Co.’s motion to dismiss Defender Security Co.’s lawsuit alleging breach of contract and bad faith, which sought a declaratory judgment that First Mercury owed it a duty to defend. Based on Indiana’s definition of “publication” in the defamation context, the term “publication” in the insurance policy was not susceptible to Defender’s interpretation that its recording and storing of customers’ information constitutes “publication” so as to trigger defense by First Mercury in a lawsuit.
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Opinions Sept. 28, 2015

September 28, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael R. Pike, and Chassidy L. Pike v. Conestoga Title Insurance Co.
16A05-1501-CT-27
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Conestoga Title Insurance Co. The Pikes failed to promptly notify Conestoga about legal notices that their property was being placed in a tax sale.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2015

September 25, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.L. v. M.F. and M.Fu. (mem. dec.)
33A01-1505-DR-318
Domestic relation. Reverses child support order entered upon M.L.’s petition for child support modification.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2015

September 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
William Clyde Gibson III v. State of Indiana
22S00-1206-DP-359
Death penalty. Affirms the imposing of the death penalty following Gibson’s conviction for murder. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate “in light of the horrific manner in which Gibson took (his victim’s) life and his lack of redeeming character traits.” In regards to the jury, rules the trial court did not err in refusing to dismiss the entire venire panel and did not abuse its discretion in denying Gibson’s request to ask a case-specific question during voir dire, his for-cause juror challenges and his request to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. Holds the trial court also did not abuse its discretion in denying Gibson’s request for a fourth continuance.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2015

September 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: B.H. and S.H., and B.H. and M.B. v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services
91A02-1504-JT-213
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying mother’s last-minute motions to continue termination hearings. There is no reason to conclude mother did not receive a fair hearing. The juvenile court did not err by finding that the termination of the relationship with mother and father is in the best interests of the children. The fact of father’s incarceration is not the sole evidence supporting termination.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2015

September 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kile Richard Stockert v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Department of Correction designation that Stockert is a sexually violent predator and offender against children. Based on the record and Ind. Code § 35-38-1-7.5(b) and § 11-8-8-19(b), the trial court did not err in denying Stockert’s petition for declaratory judgment.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2015

September 21, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Ray Clifton v. Ruby McCammack

49S02-1504-CT-228
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of motorist Ruby McCammack in a negligent infliction of emotional distress lawsuit filed by Ray Clifton, the father of a moped driver struck and killed in a crash. Clifton may not recover under the bystander rule because he does not meet the three circumstantial factors -- that the scene viewed was essentially as it was at the time of the incident, that the victim was in essentially the same condition as immediately following the incident, and that the claimant was not informed of the incident before coming upon the scene.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2015

September 18, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Blake Layman & Levi Sparks v. State of Indiana
20S04-1509-CR-548.
Criminal. Vacates conviction of murder and remands for entry of conviction of Class B felony burglary and for Layman and Sparks to be resentenced accordingly. Members of the “Elkhart 4,” Layman and Sparks were convicted of murder in the death of Danzele Johnson, who was shot by a homeowner whose house the suspects burglarized. There was simply nothing about the Appellants’ conduct or the conduct of their cohorts that was ‘clearly the mediate or immediate cause’ of their friend’s death, the court held.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2015

September 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tywaun Carter v. State of Indiana
49A04-1502-CR-52
Criminal. Affirms Carter’s conviction of two counts of Level 1 felony rape and 32-year sentence on each count to be served concurrently in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the victim’s work as a prostitute did not render her testimony and statements unbelievable, incredible or improbable. Rules the fact that the victim had been engaging in prostitution does not excuse Carter’s violent behavior or make his sentence inappropriate.  
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2015

September 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals

 

R.L. Turner Corporation v. William Wressell
06A05-1411-PL-540
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s inclusion of fringe benefits in the calculation of total compensation and the calculation of attorney fees. Finds the trial court did not include any of Wressell’s overtime in its calculation of total compensation. Remands with instructions for the trial court to award Wressell an additional $1501.68.   

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Opinions Sept. 15, 2015

September 15, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hoker Trucking, LLC and Linda L. Phillips v. Pamela K. Robbins, as Administratrix of the Estate of Mike Douglas Robbins Deceased
89A01-1411-CT-468
Civil tort. Reverses award of attorney fees and prejudgment interest to Pamela Robbins. Finds as the surviving spouse, Robbins is not entitled to recover attorney costs under the adult provision (Indiana Code 34-23-1-2) in the Indiana general wrongful death statute.
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Opinions Sept. 14, 2015

September 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan E. Mitten v. Cynthia L. Mitten
11A01-1501-DR-8
Domestic. Affirms determination of Bryan E. Mitten’s child support obligations and division of the parties’ debts. The trial court ordered that the adoptive father pay $235 per week in child support retroactive to the filing of the divorce petition. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining support, and there was no error in the trial court’s division of debt.
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Opinions Sept. 11, 2015

September 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Blackford v. Boone County Area Plan Commission and Boone County Drainage Board
06A01-1410-MI-437
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of Blackford’s oral request for a continuance made on the day of trial. Finds Blackford did not articulate any good cause for a continuance or show that he would be prejudiced.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2015

September 10, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Dennis Boyer and Richard Smith v. Ernest Smith, Suzanne Cassidy, Esq., and In-Plas, Inc.
15S01-1509-CT-526
Civil tort. Affirms trial court ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Cassidy, an attorney licensed in Kentucky. Rules Cassidy’s contacts with Indiana were products of her relationship with the plaintiffs and her client.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2015

September 9, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
United States of America v. Eugene Clarke
14-3515
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Rudy Lozano
Criminal. Affirms conviction for seven counts of filing a false claim with the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. 287. Rules the government did not have to prove Clarke willfully submitted false claims. Finds Clarke’s “patently false and utterly groundless” tax returns provided sufficient evidence that he knew he was filing claims with false information. Concludes the District Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give Clarke’s good faith instruction to the jury.
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Opinions Sept. 8, 2015

September 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Deonte R. Hester v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
82A01-1411-CR-515
Criminal. Affirms 30-year aggregate sentence and convictions of Class A felony possession of cocaine, Class C felony operating a vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life and Class A misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and possession of marijuana.
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Opinions Sept. 4, 2015

September 4, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Grace Schools, et al., and Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al.
14-1430-1431
Appeals from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
Judge Jon De Guilio
Civil. Reverses preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, preventing the federal government from enforcing the “contraceptive mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, extends the injunction for 60 days to allow the District Court the time to address additional arguments made by the parties. Finds the accommodation does not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Judge Daniel Manion dissents, arguing nonprofits have shown accommodation violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2015

September 3, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Memory Gardens Management Corporation, Inc. v. Liberty Equity Partners, LLC, and Old Bridge Funeral Home, LLC
49A02-1501-CC-1
Civil collection. Affirms grant of the Old Bridge parties’ motion for summary judgment and affirms the denial of Memory Gardens’ cross-motion for summary judgment. Remands to decide reasonable appellate attorney fees. Finds Memory Gardens’ failure to object to receiver’s final report forever bars it from claiming the $450,000 demand note. Also rules receiver abandoned Memory Gardens’ claims for the demand note.
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Opinions Sept. 2, 2015

September 2, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
David Anderson, Joe Wray, John Kennard, Commissioners, and Board of Trustees, Brown County Fire Protection District v. Susanne Gaudin, Janet Kramer, and Ruth Reichmann
07S01-1505-PL-284
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment finding that a county board of commissioners lacked authority to amend an ordinance that previously established a countywide fire protection district. Majority concludes that under the Home Rule Act, boards of county commissioners are authorized to amend fire protection districts, even if an amendment dissolves the district. The opinion written by Justice Brent Dickson was joined by Justice Mark Massa and Chief Justice Loretta Rush; Justice Steven David concurred with a separate opinion. Justice Robert Rucker dissented and would affirm the trial court judgment in favor of property owners.
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Opinions Sept. 1, 2015

September 1, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Neal D. Secrease Jr. v. The Western & Southern Life Insurance Co., et al.

15-1328.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District Court dismissal with prejudice of Secrease’s sex and age discrimination and retaliation complaints. While the sanction of dismissal with prejudice is severe, it is justified in this case where Secrease attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court by submitting a purported employment contract that contained an arbitration agreement that was not a provision in the contract he signed.
 
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Opinions Aug. 31, 2015

August 31, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael A. Kelley v. Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General
14-2961
Appeal from the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Theresa L. Springmann
Affirms the District Court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of Kelley’s suit alleging that under a plea deal struck in a robbery case in 1975, his conviction should have been expunged. No expungement statute existed then, and Indiana courts have determined that Kelley waited too long to challenge the 1975 robbery conviction.
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Opinions Aug. 28, 2015

August 28, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Saint Catherine Hospital of Indiana, LLC v. Indiana Family and Social Services  Administration
14-2420 & 142546
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division
Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Reverses the District Court’s order which allowed FSSA to keep the Hospital Assessment Fee it collected from St. Catherine for fiscal year 2013. Finds the 2013 HAF assessment was based on the hospital’s cost reports before it filed for bankruptcy. Concludes the claim is subject to the automatic stay.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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