Opinions

Opinions July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Tenneil E. Selner
71S00-1402-DI-96
Attorney discipline. Suspends Tenneil E. Selner for three years without automatic reinstatement for her federal conviction of distribution of pseudoephedrine to participants in a methamphetamine ring. Justices approved the conditional agreement for discipline by a 4-1 vote, with Justice Dickson dissenting, believing Selner’s conduct demonstrated unfitness.
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Opinions July 9, 2015

July 9, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was posted Wednesday after IL deadline
Carlene M. Craig, et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
10-3115
Appeal from U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division;
Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Civil. Reverses multi-district litigation court’s grant of summary judgment to FedEx and remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs, the Kansas drivers. The drivers are employees of FedEx rather than independent contractors under the Kansas Wage Payment Act, the court ruled. Proceedings may include remand to the Kansas District Court for a determination of damages.
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Opinions July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Choice Hotels International, Inc. v. Anuj Grover, Arjun Grover and Dharam Punwani

14-3294
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division;
Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Civil. Affirms denial of motion for relief from judgment. Finds the investors cannot have the judgment set aside because their attorney failed to protect their interests. Instead they should seek remedy through a malpractice action.
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Opinions July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan A. Cox v. State of Indiana
27A02-1412-CR-599
Criminal. Affirms 15-year aggregate executed sentence for Class B felony dealing cocaine and adjudication as a habitual offender. The doctrine of amelioration does not apply to Cox’s habitual offender sentence enhancement. Cox argued that he should have been sentenced under a more lenient amended habitual offender statute effective July 1, 2014, but his crime occurred before this, and the Legislature clearly did not intend for the doctrine of amelioration to apply to the amended statute.
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Opinions July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Corre Opportunities Fund, LP, et al., v. Emmis Communications Corp.
14-1647
Civil. Affirms ruling against Corre on a complaint that Emmis owed some $34 million in unpaid dividends to owners of preferred stock in the company. Under Indiana’s unique law allowing corporations to vote their shares, Emmis had authority to vote shares that the preferred stock owners claimed were outstanding.  
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Opinions July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinions were issued after IL deadline Wednesday.

U.S.A. v. Willie J. Harris
14-1846
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Philip P. Simon
Criminal. Affirms convictions of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud with identification documents, production and trafficking in counterfeit devices, and aggravated identity theft. Finds a notebook taken from Harris’ truck was admissible at trial and the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions. Also finds the District Court did not err in applying sentencing enhancements.
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Opinions 7/1/15

July 1, 2015

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Tuesday.
David Lawson v. Sun Microsystems, Inc.
13-1502 and 13-1503
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young
Civil. Reverses jury award to Lawson for $1.5 million and remands with instructions to enter judgment for Sun Microsystems. Finds the employee compensation plan that was instituted when Sun acquired StorageTek Inc., is unambiguous and Lawson is not entitled to the jury award of $1.5 million.

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Opinions June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Richard Bell v. Cameron Taylor
14-3099
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Dismisses interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction and remands to the District Court for resolution of outstanding issues. The 7th Circuit had no jurisdiction because Bell’s suit was still alive even though partial summary judgment had been granted.
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Opinions: 6/29/2015

June 29, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Larry D. Russell, Jr. v. State of Indiana
84S01-1409-CR-583
Criminal. Affirms 10-year sentence for conviction of five counts of Class C felony neglect of a dependent and two counts of Class C felony criminal confinement. Despite an erroneous application of a particular section of Indiana Code on a perceived statutory cap on sentencing, the plea agreement is enforceable because Russell received the benefit of the bargain and there is no compelling reason to set aside the conviction, the majority held. Chief Justice Loretta Rush concurred in result only. Justice Mark Massa dissented, finding that the trial court’s acceptance of a plea agreement based on an error of law amounted to an abuse of discretion.

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Opinions June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Renato DeBartolo v. United States of America
14-3579
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller.
Reverses denial of a petition for relief from a removal order resulting in the deportation of DeBartolo to Italy. The panel held that the failure of DeBartolo’s attorney to inform him that pleading guilty to a drug charge could result in deportation proceedings was ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Pascal Sylla
14-2813
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms 2013 conviction of attempted bank robbery stemming from an attempted robbery in 2003. Sylla’s DNA was matched to the crime scene in 2010, thus making his conviction not outside the statute of limitations.
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Opinions June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Bradley D. Hamilton
49S00-1412-DI-752
Discipline. Disbars Hamilton for abandoning his law practice and clients, stealing their money, and fleeing to Australia. Finds he violated eight rules of Professional Conduct.
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Opinions June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline:
John W. Perotti v. Diane Quinones and Billie Kelsheimer
14-229
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of Perotti’s petition of habeas corpus ad testificandum and arrangement for him to participate in his alleged retaliation trial by video conferencing. The decision did not disadvantage him, and the judge did everything she could to make sure that Perotti saw as much of the trial proceeding and its participants as was possible.
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Opinions June 22, 2105

June 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
K.K. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1410-JV-687
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as delinquent for having committed the offense of dangerous possession of a firearm, a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult. The odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle K.K. was a passenger in provided probable cause for officers to arrest the car’s three occupants, such that the loaded handgun found during the search of K.K. was properly admitted into evidence.
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Opinions June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday:
Muir Woods, Inc. v. Joseph P. O'Connor, Assessor of Marion County
49T10-1302-TA-38
Tax. Affirms dismissal by the Indiana Board of Tax Review of Muir Woods Inc.’s Petitions for correction of an error (Forms 133) because the forms’ alleged errors are not correctable under that appeal procedure. Finds that the Indiana Board acted within the scope of its authority and that Muir Woods did not raise a claim cognizable using the Form 133 appeal procedure.
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Opinions June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
I-465, LLC v. Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals Division II of Marion County, Indiana, Jeffrey R. Baumgarth and The Myers Y. Cooper Company
49A05-1409-PL-403
Civil plenary. Affirms decision by the Marion County Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals approving a request for a property-use variance by Jeffrey R. Baumgarth and Myers Y. Cooper Co. The BZA’s decision to grant the variance was based upon its determination that Myers Cooper had established the five elements required to justify a variance, and its decision was supported by adequate findings, which in turn were supported by the evidence, and therefore not clearly erroneous.
 
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Opinions June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Lewis III v. State of Indiana
45S00-1312-LW-512
Life without parole. Affirms Lewis’ convictions of murder, murder in the perpetration of criminal deviate conduct, criminal deviate conduct and resisting law enforcement, but reverses the sentence of life without possibility of parole because the trial court’s sentencing order did not contain a personal conclusion that life without possibility of parole is the appropriate sentence for Lewis. Remands for a revised sentencing order.
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Opinions June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joan Strozewski v. James Strozewski
29A02-1412-DR-885
Domestic. Affirms on interlocutory appeal trial court denial of Joan Strozewski’s motion to transfer the case to St. Joseph County. Because Hamilton County is a preferred venue for a dissolution action, change of venue cannot be granted, and the trial court did not err in denying the motion to transfer venue.
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Opinions June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marc Shell v. Kevin Smith, in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Anderson, et al.
14-2958
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Anderson defendants and remands Shell’s Americans with Disabilities Act claim for proceedings in the District Court. Shell, a mechanic’s helper in the City of Anderson Transit System, claimed his firing after a change of city administration violated his rights under the ADA because he’d held the position for 12 years. He was unable to obtain a commercial driver’s license due to hearing and vision impairment and was fired after a new administrator enforced a job description requirement that he obtain a CDL. Because of evidence and reasonable inferences favorable to both parties, summary judgment was inappropriate.
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Opinions June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015

Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Thursday.
In the Matter of the Adoption of Minor Children: I.B. and W.B.: B.B. v. B.C. and J.L., and Indiana Department of Child Services
82S05-1502-AD-63
Adoption. Reverses trial court adoption petition in favor of maternal grandmother B.C. that had been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Justices overturned a COA ruling that I.C. § 31-19-11-1(c)(15), which disqualifies certain felons from adoption, is unconstitutional. The law is constitutional because its prohibitions are rationally related to the classifications they draw, the court ruled. The case is remanded to the trial court to reconsider the petition in view of the absolute statutory bar to B.C. adopting.

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Opinions June 11, 2015

June 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael R. Bixeman and Doreen Bixeman v. Hunter's Run Homeowners Association of St. John, Inc.
45A03-1411-PL-406
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court ruling that the sanction imposed by Hunter’s Run on the Bixemans’ was invalid because the homeowners association did not give the couple the required 10 days notice as outlined in the homeowners’ covenants. Reverses denial of the Bixemans’ claim of slander of title because Hunter’s Run knew the lien placed on their home was invalid but refused to release it. Remands for determination whether the couple was damaged by the slander of title, and if so, to what extent, as well as to enter findings on attorney fees.
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Opinions June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael A. Miller v. St. Joseph County, et al.
14-2989

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Miller’s lawsuit claiming he had been discriminated against because he’s African-American. There is no evidence that the denial of his requests to fill two spots considered promotions were based on his race and he always retained his status as sergeant and same pay and benefits when he began working in the property room.
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Opinions June 9, 2015

June 9, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Kimberly S. Earl and the Estate of Jerry Earl
35S05-1408-CT-562
Civil tort. Affirms admission of Jerry Earl’s uninsured motorist policy limits into evidence at a trial involving State Farm, finding no error given the substantial evidence and correct jury instructions. Declines to create a bright-line rule involving the admission of coverage limits at trial.
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Opinions June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jake Gruber, Jill Sherman, & Jake Gruber b/n/f Jill Sherman v. YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, Ruth Lilly YMCA Outdoor Center, & Flat Rock River YMCA Resident Camp

49A02-1410-CT-713
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of YMCA defendants in a suit brought by the parents of a child bitten by a pig at a camp. The panel declined to change the standard to strict liability for owners of animals from the general rule that owners of domestic animals are liable only if the owner knows or has reason to know that the animal has dangerous propensities.
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Opinions June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bertram A. Graves, M.D. v. Indiana University Health, f/k/a Clarian Health Partners, Inc., Richard Kovacs, M.D., and Edward Ross, M.D.
49A05-1412-PL-560 
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for IU Health defendants in a breach-of-contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit brought by a cardiologist whose privileges were revoked. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment and the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Graves’ motion to compel and in striking parts of his affidavit.
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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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