Opinions

Opinions March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. Amco Insurance Company
33S01-1206-CT-312
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Amco Insurance Co. on its motion for declaratory judgment to enforce its reading of the insurance contract with the hotel disclaiming coverage for, and its duty to defend against, a civil complaint brought by a motel guest molested by an off-duty motel employee. The facts of the case reflect precisely the sort of scenario contemplated by the parties to be excluded from coverage when they agreed to the insurance contract. Chief Justice Dickson concurs and Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Williams, Jr. v. State of Indiana
30A01-1207-CR-305
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B felonies burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. Williams’ trial counsel’s performance was deficient by failing to object under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) to the admission of evidence of William’s previous bad acts and convictions. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Choice Management Services Inc., et al.
12-3308
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms $600,000 sanction against SonCo for contempt of court by not following a court order. The $600,000 is actually a gross understatement of the harm caused by SonCo’s contempt for failing to take over operation of Alco’s wells within 90 days as ordered.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2013

February 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Verdyer Clark v. State of Indiana
49A04-1202-CR-66
Criminal. Grants rehearing for clarification and affirms in all respects. Holds that the determination whether the age of a perpetrator is relevant to a child victim’s medical diagnosis or treatment is best left to another case.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2013

February 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lamont Holloway v. State of Indiana
49A02-1207-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft. The evidence was sufficient to support the convictions.
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Opinions Feb. 26, 2013

February 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Paul M. Brock v. State of Indiana
79A04-1208-CR-433
Criminal. Affirms trial court sentence of 12 years on convictions of Class C felony auto theft; Class D felony intimidation; Class A misdemeanors resisting law enforcement, striking a law enforcement animal, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated; and a habitual offender enhancement. The court held that the sentence was not impermissible double enhancement, was not inappropriate, and that the court did not abuse its discretion when it considered Brock’s prior behavior while incarcerated.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jose Maldonado-Morales v. State of Indiana
20A05-1205-CR-255
Criminal. Affirms Class D felony conviction of domestic battery, ruling that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion and that the state was not required to prove that Maldonado-Morales knowingly or intentionally struck his ex-wife in the presence of their child.  

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Opinions Feb. 22, 2013

February 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
K.W. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1301-JV-20
Juvenile. Affirms Court of Appeals reversal of trial court ruling designating K.W. a delinquent for resisting law enforcement, and orders the delinquency adjudication vacated. Justices held that evidence was insufficient that K.W. acted “forcibly” to resist a school resource officer when he pulled away as the officer was attempting to handcuff him.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2013

February 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curtis Tyrell Cutler v. State of Indiana

71A05-1206-CR-339
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary. Finds there was sufficient evidence to warrant a jury finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Cutler committed the burglary. Holds the trial court did not err in permitting the use of a statement Cutler made to police for impeachment.

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Opinions Feb. 20, 2013

February 20, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Columbus Regional Hospital v. Federal Emergency Management Agency
12-2007
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of FEMA on the hospital’s lawsuit seeking $20 more in federal aid following a flood in 2006. Holds the District Court is the proper venue for the hospital’s lawsuit. Rejects the hospital’s claims that it is entitled to the cost of new equipment instead of cost less depreciation and that FEMA should not have deducted from the aid the $25 million it received from insurance.

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Opinions Feb. 19, 2013

February 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Ronald B. Hawkins v. State of Indiana
20S03-1208-DR-499
Domestic relation. Vacates convictions of two counts of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent where Hawkins was tried in absentia. The record indicates that Hawkins’ failure to appear at trial did not constitute a waiver of his right to counsel. Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions Feb. 18, 2013

February 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jim A. Edsall v. State of Indiana
57A03-1205-CR-240
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to five counts of Class A felony delivery of methamphetamine and one count of Class A felony conspiracy to manufacture meth. There is no indication that the trial court considered alleged inaccurate and irrelevant testimony when sentencing him, and his sentence is appropriate based on his character and nature of his offenses. Reverses order of restitution as part of Edsall’s sentence because the trial court had not authority to order restitution in this case.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2013

February 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore Railcats, and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus
45A03-1205-CT-222
Civil tort. Reverses denial of summary judgment for South Shore Baseball on DeJesus’ lawsuit filed after she was hit by a foul ball at a game. As a matter of law, the appellants can’t be held liable for her injuries. Remands with instructions for the court to issue summary judgment in favor of South Shore Baseball.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2013

February 14, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In the matter of: Castleton Plaza LP; Appeal of: El-SNPR Notes Holdings LLC
12-2639
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Basil H. Lorch III.
Bankruptcy. Holds an equity investor cannot evade the competitive process by arranging for the new value to be contributed by (and the new equity to go to) an “insider” as 11 U.S.C. Section 101(31) defines that term. Competition is essential whenever a plan of reorganization leaves an objecting creditor unpaid yet distributes an equity interest to an insider.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2013

February 13, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jesus Uribe
11-3590
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms decision granting Uribe’s motion to suppress heroin found after traffic stop. The government failed to show that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop Uribe’s vehicle to investigate why its registration was tied to a white Nissan whereas the Nissan Uribe was driving was blue. Investigatory stops based on color discrepancies alone are insufficient to give rise to reasonable suspicion.
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Opinions Feb. 11, 2013

February 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Gray v. State of Indiana
49A02-1205-CR-352
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence of Class D felony possession of cocaine, holding that the court erred in failing to allow a defendant to play a tape of an officer’s deposition that contained inconsistent statements, but that the error was harmless because other evidence at trial strongly pointed to Gray’s guilt.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2013

February 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Billy Russell v. State of Indiana
49A04-1203-CR-148
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence on charges of murder and Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. The panel found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to completely bifurcate the trial of the SVF charge from the murder charge or in refusing to tender Russell’s self-defense jury instruction. The court also determined the 85-year sentence was not inappropriate.

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Opinions Feb. 7, 2013

February 7, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jurijus Kadamovas v. Michael Stevens, et al.
12-2669
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of prisoner Kadamovas’ lawsuit against prison officials and other inmates for unintelligibility. The suit is actually written clearly and not 99 pages as the judge believed, but just 28 pages. Remands for further consideration.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2013

February 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Walter E. Smith, Jr. v. State of Indiana
84A04-1112-CR-637
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to use Smith’s tendered instruction because the substance of that instruction was covered by instructions given by the court nor in refusing to discharge Smith pursuant to Criminal Rule 4(B). The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in admitting at trial the cocaine evidence seized pursuant to a valid search warrant.

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Opinions Feb. 5, 2013

February 5, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ignacio Perez v. State of Indiana
20A03-1206-CR-247
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress. Finds the detention, arrest and search incident to the arrest were reasonable and did not violate Perez’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The dog sniff outside his residence was reasonable and there was no violation of his rights under the Indiana Constitution. Remands for retrial.
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Opinions Feb. 4, 2013

February 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Connie S. Landers v. Wabash Center, Inc.
79A04-1204-CT-191
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for Wabash Center Inc. in its lawsuit against Landers for the return of money her ex-husband stole from his employer Wabash and gave to her during and after their marriage. The court ordered she pay more than $1.037 million and granted Wabash an equitable lien on her home. Wabash’s lawsuit is not barred by the statute of limitations and the ruling is supported by sufficient evidence.
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Opinions Feb. 1, 2013

February 1, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eugene Devbrow v. Dr. Eke Kalu, et al.
12-2467
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Reverses judgment for the defendants on prisoner Devbrow’s suit that two prison doctors and a prison nurse were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The statute of limitations for a Section 1983 deliberate-indifference claim brought to redress a medical injury doesn’t begin to run until the plaintiff knows of his injury and its cause, so his suit is timely.

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Opinions Jan. 31, 2013

January 31, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark S. Weinberger, M.D., et al. v. Gloria Gill
45A05-1203-CT-107
Civil tort. Affirms award of $150,000 in damages to Gloria Gill following her medical malpractice action. Concludes that the testimony concerning Weinberger’s odd behavior before his flight from the country was relevant evidence because it established an inference of consciousness of guilt.

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Opinions Jan. 30, 2013

January 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Peter F. Amaya v. D. Craig Brater, M.D., in his capacity as Dean and Director of Indiana University School of Medicine; The Board of Trustees of Indiana University; et al.
49A04-1204-PL-208
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the medical school on Amaya’s claims including breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing after he was dismissed from the school. Amaya didn’t designate evidence that the school’s decision was in bad faith, arbitrary or capricious.

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Opinions Jan. 29, 2013

January 29, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Alden v. State of Indiana
30A01-1209-CR-412
Criminal. Affirmed trial court’s denial of petition to reduce Alden’s Class D felony conviction for operating while intoxicated to a Class A misdemeanor. In a review of the state statute covering the sentencing range for Class D felonies, the COA found the statute contained the word “may” instead of “shall” which gives the courts the freedom to deny petitions.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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