Opinions

Opinions Jan. 22, 2015

January 22, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Young v. Hood's Gardens, Inc.
29S02-1405-PL-314
Civil plenary.  Reverses summary judgment in favor of Hood’s Gardens that it had no secondary liability to pay workers’ compensation benefits to Jason Young, who was severely injured while removing a tree from Hood’s Gardens’ property. The "value" that triggers secondary liability under Indiana Code 22-3-2-14(b) may include the value of other property transferred in connection with the performance of services and the designated evidence shows that the contract Hood’s Gardens entered into with the tree removal company may have been more than $1,000 once the value of firewood is considered.
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Opinions Jan. 21, 2015

January 21, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Sandra Elaine Lappin v. Anthony Alex Timmerman (NFP)
86A03-1407-PL-229
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Timmerman on his motion to dismiss Lappin’s complaint that he not be allowed to participate in an HVAC business in violation of the parties’ covenant not to compete. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2015

January 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeri Good v. Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund
25A03-1408-MI-278
Miscellaneous. Affirms determination that Good was entitled to only six months of retroactive benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System instead of a full year as Good sought. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to six months of retroactive retirement benefits. Rejects Good’s claims that she is entitled to additional retroactive benefits based on the theories of equitable estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2015

January 19, 2015
The state and federal courts are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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Opinions Jan. 16, 2015

January 16, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jeffrey A. Cleary v. State of Indiana
45S03-1404-CR-295
Criminal. Affirms multiple convictions and a 14-year sentence in a fatal drunken-driving crash imposed when Cleary was retried after a first jury deadlocked on greater criminal charges and convicted Cleary on misdemeanor and infraction counts. Justices found no statutory or constitutional double-jeopardy violations.
 
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Opinions Jan. 15, 2014

January 15, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Paul Brown v. State of Indiana
32A01-1405-CR-194
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft. Finds trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to a portion of Brown’s videotaped interview with a detective as hearsay and for not tendering a jury instruction on criminal conversion as a lesser-included offense.
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Opinions Jan. 14, 2015

January 14, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dwan Rashid Taylor
14-1981
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress drugs and guns found by police in Taylor’s storage locker pursuant to a search warrant. The police learned of the storage location using a GPS unit that it attached to Taylor’s car without a warrant in 2011, a year before the Supreme Court of the United States held that attaching a GPS device to a car for purposes of gathering information was a search under the Fourth Amendment. Because the officers used the GPS monitor in objectively reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent in effect at that time, the suppression motion was properly denied.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2015

January 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel, P.C. v. Adpoint, Inc., Joel Hall, and Mary Hall
49A02-1406-CC-430
Collections. Affirms trial court denial of Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel’s motion for summary judgment and reverses the grant of Adpoint’s motion for summary judgment and order that the amount of legal fees owed by Adpoint to the law firm was $11,085.50. The court erred in granting summary judgment to Adpoint based on res judicata and collateral estoppel. Remands to the trial court to determine the amount Adpoint owes TBV for its representation in underlying litigation.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2015

January 12, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Anderson, Comm., Joe Wray, Comm., and Board of Trustees, Brown Co. Fire. Prot. Dist. v. Susanne Gaudin, Janet Kramer, And Ruth Reichmann
07A01-1406-PL-265
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order invalidating the Brown County commissioners’ amendment of an ordinance creating a countywide fire district. In creating the district, the commissioners expressly granted it and its board of trustees the powers and authority enumerated in the ordinance, thereby relinquishing power to amend the ordinance.
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Opinions Jan. 9, 2015

January 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Sheckles v. State of Indiana
10A04-1405-CR-204
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and adjudication of Sheckles as a habitual substance offender. Sheckles was not deprived of his right to a speedy trial under Criminal Rule 4(C), the trial court did not err when it denied Sheckles’ request for disclosure of a confidential informant’s identity, nor were Sheckles’ confrontation rights violated. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted into evidence a police video recording of the controlled buy.
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Opinions Jan. 8, 2015

January 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Daniel P. Minnick v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
13-3626
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses judgment of the District Court upholding the acting commissioner’s decision to deny benefits to Minnick and remands for further proceedings. The administrative law judge did not fully develop the record before drawing any conclusions and did not adequately articulate her analysis so that the appellate court could follow her reasoning.
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Opinions Jan. 7, 2015

January 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Mental Health Proceedings of B.M. v. Indiana University Health Hospital
53A04-1405-MH-210
Mental health. Affirms order involuntarily committing B.M. to a mental health facility. The trial court’s finding that B.M. is a danger to others is supported by sufficient evidence. Judge Riley dissents with opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2015

January 6, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, Inc. v. Elizabeth Bridgewater o/b/o Alyssa Bridgewater
93S02-1310-EX-704
Civil. Vacates the final order from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission regarding a dispute over a dinner menu. The commission had found that the Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society Inc. did not discriminate against Bridgewater when it did not provide a special meal for her daughter who suffered from food allergies. However, the commission did rule that FACES did commit an unlawful discriminatory practice when it expelled the Bridgewater family from the group after they filed the disability discrimination complaint. The Supreme Court concluded because the activities of FACES fell outside education, the commission lacked the statutory authority to take any action other than the dismissal of these claims. Remands with instructions to grant the motion to dismiss filed by FACES on both claims. Justice Robert Rucker dissented, maintaining the commission does have the authority to act on the retaliation claim.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2015

January 5, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
State Farm Life Insurance Co. v. Troy Jonas et al.
14-1464
Civil tort. Vacates judgment of District Court and remands with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Finds no justiciable controversy existed when Jonas filed his lawsuit against State Farm. Concluded that the disputes about the rate of interest and whether the insurance company must pay the attorney fees that Jonas has incurred in this litigation do not retroactively create jurisdiction.
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Opinions Dec. 31, 2014

December 31, 2014
Indiana Court Appeals
Alfredo D. Rodriguez, as Permanent Guardian of the Person and Estate of Miriam Rodriguez, and Alfredo D. Rodriguez, Individually v. United States Steel Corporation
45A04-1407-CT-350
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of U.S. Steel on Alfredo Rodriguez’s negligence claim. Miriam Rodriguez was injured in an auto accident caused by an employee of U.S. Steel as he drove home from work. U.S. Steel did not owe Miriam Rodriguez a duty of reasonable care.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2014

December 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Hewitt v. Westfield Washington School Corp; Board of School Trusties of Westfield Washington School Corp. et al.
29A04-1403-PL-130
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Westfield Washington School Corp. and related defendants, holding they had not met the onerous burden of showing there are no issues of material fact entitling them to judgment as a matter of law. Hewitt, a former school principal, was fired for a sexual relationship with a teacher he supervised. He then sued the school system for breach of contract and denial of due process. His suit is remanded for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2014

December 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles P. White v. State of Indiana

29A05-1312-PC-641
Post conviction. Affirms White’s convictions for perjury, voting in the wrong precinct and theft. Finds White was convicted twice for the same actions in violation of double jeopardy. Reverses White’s other convictions for perjury and voting in the wrong precinct as well as another perjury conviction for putting the wrong address on his marriage license application. Remands with instructions that the trial court vacate those three convictions. Concludes White’s attorney, Carl Brizzi, was not ineffective. Holds White’s sentence to one-year of home detention remains.
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Opinions Dec. 24, 2014

December 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lloyd G. Perry v. Anonymous Physican 1, Alias Medical Group 1, Inc., Anonymous Physican 2, et al.
02A03-1401-CT-43
Civil Tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers. Finds Perry did not submit expert testimony as required by court rules to support his medical malpractice claim.  
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Opinions Dec. 23, 2014

December 23, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re the Adoption of B.C.H.
41S04-1408-AD-515
Adoption. Vacates the trial court’s decision to grant stepfather’s petition to adopt B.C.H. and remands for a hearing on the child’s best interests in the adoption and other proceedings consistent with this opinion. At this hearing, the grandparents, who had primary custody of B.C.H. for the first four years of her life, shall be given the opportunity to give or withhold consent to the child’s adoption. They were not served with legal notice of the adoption.
 
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Opinions Dec. 22, 2014

December 22, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Milford J. Clark
12-1417
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms conviction for bank robbery. Clark was not deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to proceed pro se. Any errors in admission of evidence were harmless since Clark met the physical description of the robber and his DNA was found at the bank.
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Opinions Dec. 19, 2014

December 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Duncan v. State of Indiana
09A05-1312-CR-613
Criminal. Reverses conviction of identity deception because the state did not prove that the name and birth date Duncan falsely gave to police belonged to a real person. Remands with instructions to vacate that conviction and sentence as well as the conviction and sentence for Class D felony pointing a firearm because of double jeopardy principles. Also remands for the court to reduce his resisting law enforcement conviction to a Class A misdemeanor due to double jeopardy principles.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2014

December 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Rodregus Morgan v. State of Indiana
49S02-1405-CR-325
Criminal. Vacates conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication as the requirements for conviction under Indiana’s public intoxication statute have not been met. An objective reasonable person standard should be read into Indiana’s public intoxication statute when applying the term “annoys.” Under that reading, the statute is not unconstitutionally vague.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2014

December 17, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Shawn Blount v. State of Indiana
49S02-1405-CR-338
Criminal. Affirms conviction of being a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm. A detective’s testimony that a witness identified Blount as the suspect was inadmissible hearsay, but it was a harmless error. There was no variance between the charging information and the evidence presented at trial.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2014

December 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Mark Rolley v. Melissa Rolley
87S01-1412-DR-739
Domestic relation. Affirms modification of child support order. Rules in a per curiam decision that ruling by Indiana Court of Appeals that an order of child support could be modified either because a substantial and continuing change in circumstances or, after 12 months, a 20 percent deviation.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2014

December 15, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc. and Roncelli, Inc. v. Fostcorp Heating and Cooling, Inc., Wilson Iron Works, Inc., et. al.
64A03-1308-PL-318
Civil plenary. Reaffirms previous ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in awarding attorney fees to Fostcorp Heating and Cooling, Wilson Iron Works and Johnson Carpet. Since the general contractor, Roncelli Inc., was not the property owner, it is not liable for payment of attorney fees. Judge Patricia Riley voted to deny rehearing.
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  1. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  2. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  3. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  4. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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