Opinions

Opinions Oct. 9, 2013

October 9, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Specialty Foods of Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Jersey Mike's Subs v. City of South Bend and Century Center Board of Managers
71A05-1302-MI-95
Miscellaneous. Affirms order denying Specialty Foods of Indiana’s complaint for declaratory judgment as to its right to continue operating its business in the college Football Hall of Fame in South Bend under a use management and operations agreement. The force majeure provision of the agreement to be exclusive provider of food and beverages for the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend is applicable to excuse the Century Center Board of Manager’s nonperformance of its obligations under the agreement because the closure of the Hall of Fame constitutes a “reason not within the reasonable control of Century Center.”
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2013

October 8, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Thomas M. Dixon
71S00-1104-DI-196
Discipline. The majority concludes in a per curiam ruling that statements made in support of a motion for change of judge did not violate Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.2(a) considering the entirety of the statements. Finds that the statements were relevant to, and required for, the relief sought. Justice Robert Rucker dissents, agreeing with the Disciplinary Commission hearing officer that the comments went beyond legal argument, became personal and therefore violated the rule.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Opinions, Oct. 7, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

The Estate of Richard A. Mayer, and Spangler, Jennings & Dougherty v. Lax, Inc., and David Lasco
37A03-1207-PL-323
Civil plenary. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. Reverses denial of summary judgment to the Estate and Spangler Jennings on claims for negligent supervision and/or retention, tortious interference with a business relationship, and tortious interference with a contract, and directs that summary judgment be entered in the estate’s and Spangler Jennings’s favor on those claims. Reverses denial of summary judgment to Spangler Jennings on the defamation claim and directs that summary judgment be entered in its favor on that claim. Reverses the denial of summary judgment to the estate regarding Lax and Lasco’s seeking punitive damages against it and direct that summary judgment be entered in favor of the estate on that claim. Affirms the granting of summary judgment in the estate’s favor on the defamation and malicious prosecution claims. Affirms denial of summary judgment on the malicious prosecution claim against Spangler Jennings and the denial of summary judgment on the abuse of process claim to both the estate and Spangler Jennings. Affirms the denial of summary judgment in favor of Spangler Jennings on punitive damages.

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Opinions Oct. 4, 2013

October 4, 2013
Opinions Oct. 4, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Dexter Berry v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A04-1301-CR-34
Post conviction. Remands for recalculation of pretrial credit time applied against an executed 10-year sentence for conviction of Class B felony burglary.
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Opinions, Oct. 3, 2013

October 3, 2013
Opinions, Oct. 3, 2013

Indiana Tax Court

Orange County Assessor v. James E. Stout
49T10-1112-TA-94
Property tax. Affirms the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that the Orange County Assessor failed the meet the burden of proving that Stout’s land assessment was proper. Finds although the Indiana Board applied a 2011 statute to a 2010 appeal, the 2011 law was not new but a clarification of the original 2009 statute which shifted the burden to the assessor. Also rules the assessor failed to provide any evidence demonstrating that Stout was not using his 8.12 acre property for an agriculture purpose.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2013

October 1, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christina Atkins, and Kyla Atkins, by her parent and next friend Christina Atkins v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC
49A02-1302-CT-181
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Atkins’ motion for leave to file a belated appeal under Indiana Trial Rule 72(E). Finds in order for remedy under the trial rule, counsel has to first establish either the court did not send a copy of the order, ruling or judgment or sent a copy to the wrong address. Lack of notice is the prerequisite before any relief can be granted. Atkins’ counsel received notice of the court’s judgment in favor of Veolia but misfiled it. Therefore, Atkins had received the notice and cannot obtain relief under Rule 72(E).
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2013

September 30, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 30, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Archer v. State of Indiana

49A05-1209-CR-448
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of child molestation, rejecting arguments that the trial court’s statement about the victim’s competency was an impermissible vouching statement and that the court improperly allowed vouching statements by multiple witnesses. The court’s denial of Archer’s request to present evidence of the victim’s post-allegation demeanor also was proper, as were jury instructions and the effectiveness of Archer’s trial counsel.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2013

September 26, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
M & M Investment Group, LLC v. Ahlemeyer Farms, Inc. and Monroe Bank
03S04-1211-CC-645
Civil collection. Reverses the trial court and remands. Rules the requirement in Indiana Code 6-1.1-24-3(b)  that a mortgage holder must request a copy of a notice that a parcel of property is eligible for tax sale does not violate the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. The Supreme Court upheld 20 years of precedent in finding the statute is constitutional.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2013

September 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven Harper and Rose Harper as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Steven Harper, Deceased v. Gerry Hippensteel, M.D.
42A04-1302-MI-95
Miscellaneous/medical malpractice. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Gerry Hippensteel, concluding that he did not owe a duty to Steven Harper Jr. on the basis of a Collaborative Practice Agreement the doctor signed with a nurse practitioner who provided care. Because Hippensteel took no affirmative action with regard to Harper, he is entitled to summary judgment because no doctor-patient relationship existed or was imposed by the agreement.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2013

September 24, 2013
Opinions  Sept 24, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

Jerome Milian v. State of Indiana
79A02-1302-CR-197
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of Jerome Milian’s pro se motion to withdraw his plea of guilty to Class A felony dealing cocaine. The court concluded that Milian, who was represented at his pro se hearing by stand-by counsel, received multiple advisements and admonishments from the trial court regarding his rights, and in particular, his right to representation by counsel. Milian failed to meet his burden of proving that he was subjected to manifest injustice.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2013

September 23, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 23, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

C. Subah Packer v. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development
93A02-1301-EX-83
Agency action. Affirms determination of a liability administrative law judge that a horse stable owner must pay unemployment compensation taxes plus interest and penalties for employees during the years 2008-2011 because they performed some amount of non-agricultural labor. Because employment records did not establish the amount of wages paid to workers for agricultural or non-agricultural work, a determination that Packer must pay taxes on total compensation for the audit years is not arbitrary, unreasonable, against the evidence or contrary to law.
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Opinions - Sept. 20, 2013

September 20, 2013
Opinions – Sept. 20, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals


Walter E. Lunsford v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as Trustee
30A01-1302-MF-63
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Deutsche Bank, holding that its mortgage was the senior lien on a property that Walter Lunsford sold on a land contract years earlier but failed to record until after the mortgage was recorded. Deutsche Bank is the holder of the note and was entitled to enforce the loan document after a default, and Lunsford waived his arguments that the bank lacks standing and that it refused his offer to make payment in full because those arguments were not raised before the trial court.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2013

September 19, 2013
Beneficial Financial 1 Inc., Successor in Interest to Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Indiana v. Sharon Hatton, a/k/a Sharon J. Hatton, First Select, Inc., Calvary SPV, II, LLC, and Discover Bank
45A03-1212-MF-531
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses trial court grant of dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, finding that a surviving company after a merger needs no documentation of assignment of interest in Hatton’s mortgage, and remands to the trial court with instructions to reinstate Beneficial’s complaint for damages. Beneficial also must have an opportunity to prove that a mutual mistake was the cause of an erroneous legal description of the property secured by the mortgage.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Kevin M. Clark v. State of Indiana
20S05-1301-CR-10
Criminal. Reverses conviction and 45-year sentence for Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine, holding that police violated the Fourth Amendment protections of Kevin Clark when a late-night call regarding someone allegedly living improperly at a 24-hour self-storage unit instead became a “fishing expedition” for narcotics based on an officer’s hunch. Officers saw nothing illegal or appearing to constitute narcotics use, and evidence gathered from resulting search must be suppressed as fruit of the poison tree, a 4-1 majority ruled. Justice Mark Massa dissented, holding that when Clark dropped a bag as police approached, it provided reasonable suspicion, as did Clark’s subsequent admission that the bag contained marijuana.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2013

September 17, 2013
Indiana Tax Court
United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-0704-TA-24
Premiums tax. On remand from a reversal by the Indiana Supreme Court, denies UPS’s motion for summary judgment of an appeal of taxes due for the years 2000 and 2001 and grants summary judgment in favor of the Department of Revenue, holding that statutes governing premiums tax on out-of-state insurers are immune from Commerce Clause challenges.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2013

September 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larry Lyons, Jr. v. State of Indiana
36A01-1208-CR-331
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felony methamphetamine possession. Finds there is no evidence that the trial court’s failure to provide instructions in strict accordance to Indiana Code 35-37-2-4 and Indiana Jury Rule 26(b) caused Lyons harm or put him at substantial risk of harm.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2013

September 13, 2013
Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber & Hardware; and Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center, Inc. v. Chi-Tec Construction & Remodeling, Inc.; John F. Ziola, Jr.; Et Al.
46A03-1301-MI-18
Miscellaneous/mechanic’s lien. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of the Margret Lynn West trust, one of the defendant parties, and orders summary judgment entered for Von Tobel. The panel reversed a trial court ruling that the lien was invalid because a pre-lien notice named “Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center Inc.” and the lien notice named “Von Tobel Corporation” as claimants. The difference was minimal, not misleading and didn’t prejudice the trust or other parties, the panel held.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2013

September 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as Co-Personal Reps. of the Estate of Margaret A. Dreyer
10S01-1308-PL-529
Civil plenary. Grants transfer to dispel confusion arising from “inartful language” in previous opinion.
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Opinions Sept. 11, 2013

September 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David Hughes v. Kore of Indiana Enterprise Inc., et al.
13-8018
Civil. Reverses decertification of a class action, finding the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, did not provide adequate grounds for the ruling, and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2013

September 10, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John Scott
12-2962
Criminal. Affirms U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruling denying a motion to suppress evidence gathered from a search warrant issued after a driveway conversation involving drug deals was captured without the knowledge of either party, after a dealer took a confidential informant’s vehicle to meet his supplier, John Scott. The panel held that sufficient evidence aside from the recorded conversation supported the issuance of the warrant.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2013

September 9, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Christopher Eads
12-2464
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 480-month sentence for distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography and tampering with a witness. Addresses the issues Eads raises on appeal but upholds the decision of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Finds the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Eads to represent himself; the conviction for witness tampering was supported by the evidence; a new trial is not warranted because no new evidence has been discovered; and the discussion of 18 U.S.C. 3553 factors at sentencing was sufficient. Agrees with Eads that the district court erred in not thoroughly explaining on the record why it allowed images to be shown to the jury but rules the error is harmless because the additional evidence against him was overwhelming.  
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Opinions, Sept. 6, 2013

September 6, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Scott Weigle and April Weigle v. SPX Corp.
12-3024 and John Moore, II and Corinne Moore v. SPX Corp.

12-3025
Civil. Vacates a district court grant of summary judgment for SPX Corp. on a complaint seeking damages due design defects on a semi-truck trailer support stand from which a trailer fell on mechanics. Affirms the district court judgment of summary judgment with respect to inadequate-warning claims.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2013

September 5, 2013

Opinions, Sept. 5, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ezekier Breaziel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-CR-731
Criminal. Dismisses Breaziel’s interlocutory appeal of the denial of his motion to dismiss the charges against. Concludes sua sponte the COA lacks authority under the appellate rules to accept jurisdiction of Breaziel’s appeal.

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Opinions Sept. 4, 2013

September 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua Basey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A01-1301-CR-40
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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