Opinions

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certain Central Indiana Cooling and Heating payments under Contracts 1 and 2; Contract 3 was induced by fraud and is rescinded; and Yellow Book is entitled to pre-judgment interest and reasonable attorney fees for amounts owed under Contracts 1 and 2.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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Opinions May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Tammy Sue Harper
79S02-1405-CR-334
Criminal. Affirms grant of Harper’s motion for a sentence modification sought more than 365 days after she was originally sentenced. The prosecutor’s conduct and communications adequately conveyed the “approval of the prosecuting attorney” required in I.C. 35-38-1-17(b).
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Opinions May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In re Mental Health Actions for A.S., Sara Townsend
10S01-1402-MH-113
Mental health. Reverses finding that Sara Townsend was in indirect civil contempt after completing an application to initiate immediate emergency treatment for her co-worker, A.S. The trial court lacked statutory authority to find her in contempt and her actions did not place her under the trial court’s authority to impose sanctions as an inherent power of the judiciary.
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Opinions May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
West Ohio II, LLC v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor
49T10-1404-TA-9
Tax. Grants the county’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction West Ohio II’s petition asking the Tax Court to enjoin the collection of property taxes related to a disputed portion of its $39 million assessment. Injunctive relief cannot be granted before an original tax appeal has been initiated.
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Opinions May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Advanced Tactical Ordnance Systems Inc. v. Real Action Paintball Inc. and K.T. Tran
13-3005
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses finding that the court has personal jurisdiction and that Advanced Technical was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Remands with directions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. There is no evidence that defendant Real Action has the necessary minimum contacts with Indiana to support specific jurisdiction.
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Opinions May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Belinda Douglas v. Neil Spicer and L.S.
32A01-1309-JP-403
Juvenile. Affirms order that Spicer pay $6,600 in back child support. The trial court did not err when it determined that father’s court-ordered child support obligation terminated after 33 weeks in October 2005.
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Opinions May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown
49S00-1311-PL-716
Civil plenary. Reverses partial summary judgment to Maggie Lewis, holding Mayor Greg Ballard is entitled to summary judgment on redistricting ordinance issue. Justices exercise judicial restraint and leave redistricting in the hands of the two branches of local government responsible for the task. Also reverses any order requiring Ballard to pay part of the cost of a master brought in on the issue.
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Opinions May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cung Hnin v. TOA (USA), LLC
13-3658
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of TOA on Cung Hnin’s claims of discrimination based on national origin and retaliation after his firing from TOA. Hnin presented no evidence suggesting TOA officials did not believe their reasons for firing him after employees raised concerns about his behavior. Likewise, Hnin had not presented circumstantial evidence that would permit a jury to infer that TOA retaliated against him for voicing his concerns about the promotion of ethnic Chin workers.
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Opinions May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014
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Opinions May 2, 2014

May 2, 2014
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sarah E. Frey, Kevin Enright and Protect Our Woods Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency and Gina McCarthy, Administrator
13-2142
Civil. Affirms District Court rulings of summary judgment in favor of EPA and denial of motion for U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young to disqualify himself based on prior rulings. Young correctly found plaintiffs’ motions were moot because a Bloomington PCB cleanup is ongoing, because plaintiffs are not prevailing parties or parties to the original consent decree, and as such they also are not entitled to attorney fees. Young’s decision not to disqualify himself did not deny plaintiffs due process.
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Opinions May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Alva Electric, Inc., Arc Construction Co., Inc., Danco Construction, Inc., Deig Bros. Lumber & Construction Co., Inc., et al. v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation and EVSC Foundation, Inc.
82S01-1307-PL-473
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the antitrust claim. Reverses summary judgment for the defendants on the issue of a public bidding violation. Holds the procedure employed by the school corporation to renovate one of its buildings violated Indiana’s Public Work Statute, but not the Antitrust Act. Remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the taxpayers who brought the lawsuit as well as a declaration that the transactions by the school corporation violated the Public Work Statute.
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Opinions April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. James V. Carroll
13-2600
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress following Carroll’s guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The information in the detective’s affidavit was sufficient to establish fair probability that the computer or other digital storage devices within Carroll’s home would contain evidence of child pornography or exploitation of a child, despite the fact that the photographs were taken approximately five years earlier.
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Opinions April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Karl N. Truman
10S00-1401-DI-55
Attorney discipline. Issues a public reprimand for violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 5.6(a) by making an employment agreement that restricted the rights of a former associate to practice after termination of the employment relationship. The court also accepted the parties’ stipulation that Truman violated Rule 1.4(b), failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit client to make informed decisions regarding representation.
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Opinions April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
John M. Weidman v. State of Indiana
03A01-1306-CR-255
Criminal. Affirms 14-year sentence following guilty pleas in two separate causes. Weidman specifically agreed in his plea agreement that he was not entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring as a condition of his release on bond. Accordingly, he may not now claim that he was entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring.
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Opinions April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marvin Garner v. State of Indiana
49A02-1310-CR-834
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 60-year sentence for four counts of Class A felony child molesting. His offenses were committed against multiple victims and against the same victims repeatedly, and his victims were young and he abused this position of trust.
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Opinions April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Donnetta Newell v. State of Indiana
49A02-1309-CR-744
Criminal. Affirms Class A misdemeanor intimidation conviction. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the incident that led to Newell’s eviction and there is sufficient evidence for the finder of fact to conclude that Newell knew her statement to a security guard would be transmitted to the subject of her threat.
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Opinions April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Matthew P. Wilhoite v. State of Indiana
34A04-1303-CR-138
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery.” Wilhoite argued his conviction is invalid because a person may not be convicted of “conspiring to attempt” any crime. Although the state referenced a non-existent crime when it listed “conspiracy to commit attempted robbery” on the charging information as the crime committed, Wilhoite has not demonstrated fundamental error.
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Opinions April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shelly Bailey v. Lance Bailey
25A04-1309-DR-452
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s modification of physical custody of the two children. Finds the Parallel Parenting Time Order did not enable the court to modify the children’s custody to joint custody especially since neither parent petitioned for a change in custody. Judge John Baker dissented, writing that, as instructed by the Parallel Parenting Time Order, the trial court was trying to act in the best interest of the children and to prevent any further destructive behavior by the parents.
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Opinions April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Old Utica School Preservation, Inc., Kenneth Morrison, Scott Sandefur, and Pamela Sandefur v. Utica Township, John Durbin, Utica Township Trustee, Jacobs Well, Inc., Kevin Williar, John Posey, et al.
10A05-1308-PL-388
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Utica Township defendants and remands for proceedings on their claims. Old Utica School Preservation plaintiffs are entitled under the public standing doctrine to proceed with their claim that the township violated language in a quitclaim deed requiring the former school to be operated by the township solely for park and recreation purposes. Plaintiffs sued when the township leased the building for purposes including temporary housing or a halfway house for criminal offenders.
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Opinions April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana
45A03-1310-CR-406
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition for expungement. Determines that the word “shall” in Section 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement. And such an interpretation does not render Section 35-38-9-9(d) meaningless because that section applies to other parts of the statute where the trial court does have discretion to deny a petition for expungement.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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