Opinions

Opinions Jan. 3, 2013

January 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan Ramirez-Fuentes
12-1494
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and 295-month sentence for possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Finds no plain error in admitting testimony about the possession of firearms, but testimony classifying the drug as “Mexican” methamphetamine shouldn’t have been allowed. Finds judge considered family situation when sentencing Ramirez-Fuentes.
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Opinions Dec. 31, 2012

January 2, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund v. Paul Bryson
49A04-1201-MI-2
Miscellaneous. Affirms original opinion that Bryson’s on-duty injury was a “covered impairment” making him eligible for Class 1 impairment disability benefits even though he had a pre-existing condition.
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Opinions Dec. 28, 2012

December 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
James M. Brinkley and Stephanie L. Brinkley v. Michael Haluska, P.E., d/b/a Retro Tech, et al.
32A01-1204-MI-181
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s summary judgment that Donald Gindelberger is a good faith purchaser for value of a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette because the Brinkleys were in the best position to prevent the allegedly fraudulent sale and did not do so. Also, it concluded the BMV is immune from liability.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
11-3347
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.
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Opinions Dec. 21, 2012

December 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven E. Malloch v. State of Indiana
17A03-1201-CR-37
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting for an incident involving his stepdaughter. There was no prosecutorial misconduct and the trial court did not err by admitting Malloch’s apology letter to C.P. Although Malloch did not receive a perfect trial, the appellate judges are confident he received a fair trial.
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Opinions Dec. 20, 2012

December 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Beller, a minor, by his next friend and mother, Melissa Welch, et al. v. Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County Ind., d/b/a Wishard Memorial Hospital d/b/a Wishard Ambulance Service
11-3691
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants on the plaintiffs lawsuit alleging violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by failing to stabilize Welch and her son during an emergency medical situation. Because the Wishard ambulance was operating under the EMS protocol at the time the plaintiffs were in it, the plaintiffs had not come to the Wishard emergency department under the EMTALA, and the plaintiffs’ claim cannot succeed.
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Opinions Dec. 19, 2012

December 19, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Norman W. Bernstein, et al. v. Patricia A. Bankert, et al. and Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Co.
11-1501, 11-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of counts I, II, III and VII. In Count I, the trustees have made a timely CERCLA claim, under 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B), to recover costs incurred pursuant to the 2002 AOC. The trustees’ Count II “companion claim” for a declaratory judgment of CERCLA liability is therefore also reinstated. Finds that the Indiana ELA claim contained in Count III is timely, and that the declaratory judgment claim contained in Count VII is not moot. The District Court committed no abuse of discretion in its handling of the summary judgment briefing process. Finally, affirms the District Court’s denial of Auto Owners’ motion for summary judgment on preclusion grounds. The trustees’ suit is reinstated and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2012

December 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Schepers v. State of Indiana
22A01-1201-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal a trial court denial of a motion to dismiss several drug charges and a Class C felony count of neglect of a dependent. The court held that Schepers’ filing of a pro se motion for a speedy trial and motion to dismiss for violation of Criminal Rule 4 were filed while he was represented by a public defender and that he did not clearly and unequivocally assert his right to self-representation. Remands cause for trial.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2012

December 17, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Knight v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins. Co. (NFP)
02A05-1206-PL-290
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Allstate.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
32A05-1108-DR-417
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2012

December 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of Rudy Escobedo (deceased) (Raquel Hanic, Personal Representative of Estate) v. Officer Brian Martin, et al.
11-2426
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of the defendants on the estate’s excessive force claim against the police and the city of Fort Wayne and grant of judgment as a matter of laws on qualified immunity grounds, as well as summary judgment in favor of officers Martin and Brown on the excessive force claim.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2012

December 12, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ponziano Construction Services, Inc. v. Quadri Enterprises, LLC
45A05-1112-CC-661
Civil collection. Reverses award of $16,000 to Ponziano on its breach of contract claim against Quadri and the denial of Ponziano’s rquest to foreclose on its mechanic’s lien. Affirms the award of $8,000 in attorney fees to Ponziano and remands with instructions to the trial court to enter judgment in favor of Ponziano for $48,483.43, order sale of the property subject to the $45,549.43 lien, and determine the existence, extent, and outcome of a potential priority dispute between Ponziano and Wells Fargo.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2012

December 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Paul Henry Gingerich v. State of Indiana
43A05-1101-CR-27
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder and remands for further proceedings. The juvenile court abused its discretion when it denied Gingerich’s request for a continuance.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2012

December 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Vance v. Francisco Lozano, et al.
02A03-1203-SC-142
Small claim. Reverses judgment in favor of Rock Solid and Lozano on Vance’s breach of contract claim. Finds the parties entered into an enforceable settlement agreement.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2012

December 7, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry L. Brown v. Tammy S. Brown
77A01-1204-PL-180
Civil plenary. Reverses civil judgment in favor of Terry Brown’s ex-wife. The trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence regarding criminal offenses he committed more than 20 years ago. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2012

December 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Connie Yates, Rick Yates, Jason Tibbs, and Pauline Tibbs v. Levi Wayne Kemp

50A04-1204-CT-192
Civil tort. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment to Kemp on the Yateses’ and Tibbses’ claims for nuisance. Based on the plain language of I.C. 14-22-31.5-6 and its context in the act as a whole, Kemp is not shielded by section 6 from liability related to his neighbors’ nuisance claims arising from noise pollution. There is also a material fact as to whether Kemp has caused his neighbors to experience inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2012

December 5, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Gregory Wolfe
11-3281
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of bank theft and interstate transportation of stolen goods for Wolfe’s role in a copper theft scheme and his 88-month sentence, followed by concurrent three-year terms of supervised release, and order of more than $3 million in restitution. Wolfe argued that he was deprived of a fair trial because of statements the prosecutor made during closing argument. He also challenged the sentence and restitution order. Wolfe’s contentions lack merit.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2012

December 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerry Vanzyll v. State of Indiana
34A02-1111-CR-1050
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands to the trial court convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felonies of possession of meth and possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The court affirmed the drug convictions but ordered the resisting conviction vacated because it held there was insufficient evidence to prove that Vanzyll fled.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2012

December 3, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Terry J. Hough
64A05-1203-MI-113
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s grant of a petition that Hough’s name be removed from the Indiana Sex Offender Registry, holding that requiring him to register for a Pennsylvania rape committed before the establishment of the registry would violate the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2012

November 30, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana Ex Rel., Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission v. Derek A. Farmer
94S00-1103-MS-165
Attorney discipline. Rejected petition to enjoin unauthorized practice of law, holding that the Disciplinary Commission failed to prove that Farmer had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and failed to convince the court that Farmer could not have reasonably expected to be authorized for temporary admission due to a pending disciplinary proceeding.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2012

November 29, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry and Laura Wagler, Larry and Jennifer Wagler, Norman Wagler, and Janet and Nathan Wagler v. West Boggs Sewer District Inc.
14A01-1109-PL-427
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Waglers’ motions for relief from judgment pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 60(B), and that the court did not err in directing Janet and Nathan Wagler to connect to the sewer system. Denies West Boggs’ request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Nov. 28, 2012

November 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard Thomas v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
64A03-1204-PL-191
Civil plenary. Affirms suspension of Thomas’ driving privileges for 10 years due to qualifying as a habitual traffic violator. The BMV timely notified Thomas that he qualified as a habitual traffic violator and the doctrine of laches is not applicable to the instant matter.
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Opinions Nov. 27, 2012

November 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kirstan Haub, d/b/a American Handyman Service v. Jenny Eldridge
10A01-1203-PL-107
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Haub’s motion for summary judgment against Eldridge. The trial court erred in considering parol evidence, and the release unambiguously releases Haub from any and all claims that Eldridge may have had against him on or before Oct. 8, 2010. Orders trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of Haub.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2012

November 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of B.W. and C.W. (Minor Children); J.W. (Mother) B.W. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
33A04-1206-JT-289
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2012

November 21, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. William Hagler
11-2984
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge William C. Lee.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of attempted bank robbery. Hagler argued that the government waited too long to indict him, that the evidence was insufficient to convict him, and that new DNA testing entitles him to a new trial.
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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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