Opinions

Opinions Nov. 13, 2012

November 13, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
D.C. v. J.A.C.
32S04-1206-DR-349
Domestic relation/modification of custody. Reverses Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a trial court modification of a custody order in favor of a child’s father. In a case involving a mother who was moving out of state, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals erred by failing to apply a highly deferential standard of review to the trial court’s determination of a custody modification based on testimony regarding the best interests of the child.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2012

November 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Amerisafe Risk Services, Inc., and Leerae Riggs v. The Estate of Hazel D. Wadsack, deceased, by Ronald J. Wadsack as Personal Rep., and Ronald J. Wadsack, individually
88A01-1204-CT-144
Civil tort. Reverses trial court denial of plaintiff’s request for dismissal, holding that the court lacked jurisdiction in the case. The estate of an injured worker’s mother sued the worker’s compensation insurer, claiming that the mother died as a result of emotional distress over the insurer’s handling of her son’s claim. The appeals court held that the Wadsacks had not exhausted appeals through the Worker’s Compensation Board, which the court determined had proper jurisdiction because the Wadsacks’ claim was derivative of their son’s claims for benefits.
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Opinions Nov. 8, 2012

November 8, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Michael Burton v. State of Indiana
45A03-1201-CR-6
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to dismiss the charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Remands with instructions. Wallace applies and the ex post facto provision of the Indiana Constitution prevents the application of Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry Act to require Burton, a resident of Indiana, to register as a sex offender for an offense committed in Illinois in 1987.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2012

November 7, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Michael Kucholick v. State of Indiana
12S02-1211-CR-630
Criminal. Justices grant transfer and order Kucholick’s sentence for Class C felony criminal recklessness and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief revised to the advisory term of four years, all executed. Summarily affirms Court of Appeals decision in all respects. Chief Justice Dickson dissents, believing the trial court’s sentence of seven years should be affirmed.
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Opinions Nov. 6, 2012

November 6, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Elvis Holtsclaw

49S02-1205-CR-264
Criminal. Reverses dismissal of state’s notice of appeal and remands to the Court of Appeals for consideration of its merits, holding that the appeal is timely under Appellate Rule 9.
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Opinions Nov. 5, 2012

November 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven E. Miles, a/k/a Robert Dutcher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1204-PC-310
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions Nov. 2, 2012

November 2, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua A. Bostic v. State of Indiana
12A02-1202-CR-154
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Cass C felony attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness; Class D felony arson; Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief; and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, holding that Bostic waived his right to appeal under Criminal Rule 4(C) by failing to object to trial delays before the trial court. The court also found he likewise waived his right to appeal the process for appointing a special judge. Remands to the trial court to correct the sentencing order, abstract of judgment, and chronological case summary to reflect that Bostic’s 12-year habitual offender enhancement is an enhancement to his sentence for felony criminal recklessness, and not a separate conviction.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2012

November 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Leslie Bridges v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, Veolia Water North America Operating Service, LLC, and The City of Indianapolis, Dept. of Waterworks
49A02-1112-CC-1097
Civil collection. Affirms trial court dismissal of Bridges’ class action filed after her water was turned off for nonpayment, finding Bridges failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available at the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission. She had to seek those remedies before seeking judicial relief. Concludes that I.C. 8-1-2-68 through -70 grant the IURC exclusive jurisdiction over Bridges’ claim regardless of whether it is treated as a challenge to and request for reimbursement of the reconnect fee or as a challenge to the allegedly improper act of terminating her residential water service in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the tariff.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2012

October 31, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robertson Fowler v. State of Indiana
49A05-1202-PC-68
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Fowler received a benefit at the time he entered into his plea bargain, so he may not now challenge the sentence as illegal.
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Opinions Oct. 30, 2012

October 30, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Lisa J. Kane v. State of Indiana
30S04-1206-CR-372
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property and remands for retrial. The trial court improperly instructed the jury on the mental state required to convict Kane.

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Opinions Oct. 29, 2012

October 29, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Betty J. Angel v. Kent H. Powelson and Marjorie A. Powelson
82A04-1205-PL-292
Civil plenary. Affirms order granting part of the Powelsons’ summary judgment motion on Angel’s claims of reformation of a deed and adverse possession. The undisputed evidence shows that both Angel and the Powelsons were granted an easement to use the roadway and both used it for ingress and egress purposes. The evidence also supports Angel’s claim for reformation of a deed is barred by laches.
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Opinions Oct. 26, 2012

October 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of A.P.: T.P. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc. (NFP)
49A02-1201-JT-28
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2012

October 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Ken Nunn Law Office
49A02-1202-CT-68
Civil tort. Reverses denial of State Farm’s motion for summary judgment on the law office’s attempt to recover attorney fees and remands for further proceedings. The law office may not seek payment of a former client’s attorney fees from State Farm under an equitable attorney fee lien or based on a theory of quantum meruit.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2012

October 24, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Leslie Ann Grider v. State of Indiana
48A02-1112-CR-1156
Criminal. Reverses 19-year sentence following guilty pleas to two counts of Class C felony forgery, four counts of Class D felony theft, and two counts of Class D felony check fraud. The language of the plea agreement indicates the parties’ intention that the trial court would impose concurrent sentences on all counts regardless of the separate cause numbers. Orders Grider’s sentences to be concurrent for a total of eight years.
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Opinions Oct. 23, 2012

October 23, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc., et al., v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, et al.
11-2464
Civil. Reverses in part and affirms in part, affirming the district court injunction against I.C. 5-22-17-5.5(b) that bars state or federal funding for “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.” The circuit court held that Medicaid grants individual rights under federal civil rights protections, but reversed the district court with regard to federal block grant funds, holding that no such actionable protection exists.
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Opinions Oct. 22, 2012

October 22, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wayne Evans v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc. (NFP)
10A01-1111-PL-539
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court injunction prohibiting construction in a utility easement.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2012

October 19, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney Killebrew II v. State of Indiana

34A02-1204-CR-303
Criminal. Reserves a conviction of possession of marijuana after concluding the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence obtained at an illegal traffic stop. The court found the police officer had no grounds to stop the driver because the continuous use of a turn signal is not a traffic violation and the officer’s actions did not fall within his community caretaking function.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2012

October 18, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John A. Dugan v. State of Indiana
49A05-1202-PC-50
Post conviction. Reverses denial of petition for post-conviction relief. The court erred when it denied Dugan’s claim that Mills applied retroactively to his habitual offender enhancement. Remands for the court to vacate that enhancement.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2012

October 17, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
J.M. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.C.
Agency appeal. Finds the court may rely on a different statutory ground of a just cause finding than the one relied upon by the review board when, as here, the review board’s findings of fact clearly establish the alternate subsection’s applicability. Affirms the review board under Indiana Code section 22-4-15-1(d)(5), that J.M. refused to obey instructions, and was thus fired for just cause. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.
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Opinions Oct. 16, 2012

October 16, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Mitchell v. State of Indiana
49A02-1202-CR-125
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class D felony theft. The evidence is sufficient to show Mitchell and the other defendants knowingly exerted unauthorized control over the apartment complex’s water heater with the intent to deprive the apartments of any part of its value or use. The advisory sentence imposed, with all but 60 days suspended to probation, was not inappropriate.
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Opinions Oct. 15, 2012

October 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ted L. Cecil, Cecil Septic LLC, and Max Haas Company, LLC v. Fisk Excavating, Plumbing and Septic Services, Inc., Dennis Fisk, Dennis Fisk, Jr.,Michelle Fisk, Bob Murphy, et al. (NFP)
33A05-1112-MI-686
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Fisk Excavating and other defendants on the plaintiffs’ legal malpractice claim. Remands for determination of Gregg Morelock’s appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Oct. 12, 2012

October 12, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Riggs and Mark Ashmann v. Mark S. Weinberger, M.D., Mark Weinberger, M.D., P.C., Merrillville Center for Advanced Surgery, LLC, and Nose and Sinus Center, LLC
45A03-1109-CT-394
Civil tort. Reaffirms original opinion in all respects, and finds that a trial court when confronted with the facts and circumstances like those in this case, may compel an involuntary psychiatric examination in accordance with Ind. Trial Rule 35. There is no requirement that the court must do so.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2012

October 11, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Edward Jeroski, doing business as USA Cleaning Service and Building Maintenance v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and U.S. Secretary of Labor
11-3687
Agency review. Denies USA Cleaning’s petition to review the order of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, which affirmed the denial of an application for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. The meaning of “prevailing party” under the act does not apply to USA Cleaning, which was the subject of an order by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration that was later dropped.
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Opinions Oct. 10, 2012

October 10, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Charles R. Kastner v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security
11-1166
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann Jr.
Civil. Reverses denial of disability benefits, finding the administrative law judge did not adequately explain why Kastner had not met the requirements for a presumptive disability. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 9, 2012

October 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ralph Jennings d/b/a A Cut Above Tree Service v. Terrance Kinnard (NFP)
49A05-1203-CC-117
Collections. Reverses and remands trial court’s grant of relief to Kinnard from a default judgment of $4,189.22 for the plaintiff.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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