Opinions

Opinions Dec. 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael E. Garcia v. Carolyn W. Colvin
13-2120
Civil. Reverses the Social Security Administration’s denial of disability benefits for Michael E. Garcia, finding that the denial was riddled with error and that the record shows Garcia is among the most seriously disabled applicants for disability the Circuit Court has encountered. Remands to the Social Security Administration for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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Opinions Dec. 19, 2013

December 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Tyrice J. Halliburton v. State of Indiana
20S00-1206-LW-560
Life without parole. Affirms murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. The trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence. Concludes the trial court committed no error, let alone fundamental error, by admitting photographs into evidence. Finds the court’s limiting instruction was erroneous, but Halliburton made no claim that the error was fundamental and no such fundamental error occurred.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2013

December 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ralph Stockton v. Falls Auctioneers and Realtors and Peggy Buck as Trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust
18A05-1304-CT-160
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Peggy Buck as trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust on Stockon’s negligence suit. There are questions of fact regarding whether Stockton’s fall was caused in part by the length of the grass and whether Buck controlled the length of the grass. It cannot be said as a matter of law that Buck owed no duty to Stockton and Buck was not entitled to summary judgment on this basis. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2013

December 17, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Gas Company, Inc. and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company, et al v. Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC
93S02-1306-EX-407
Agency action. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a contract between Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC that obligates the state to purchase synthetic natural gas that would be produced at a coal-gasification plant in Rockport. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals had invalidated the contract, but justices agreed that the IURC’s decision should be affirmed because the parties modified the disputed portion of the contract.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2013

December 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Avon Trails Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Kellie Homeier
32A01-1307-PL-312
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of a temporary injunction that would have allowed Avon Trails to enforce a restrictive covenant barring Homeier from parking a trailer on her lot or an adjacent lot. Remands to the trial court with orders to adopt settlement language the parties submitted as a joint motion to vacate findings and submission of agreed entry of judgment.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2013

December 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Everitt Dickey v. State of Indiana
10A01-1212-CR-587
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A child molesting, rejecting Dickey’s argument that testimony about his physical abuse of the victim and her mother was improperly admitted. The court held that Dickey failed to preserve the argument for appeal because, while his attorney objected to a line of questioning about when Dickey’s relationship with the victim’s mother began to change, a continuing objection was not raised.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2013

December 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Eric Johnson v. Gillian Wheeler Johnson
49S05-1303-DR-199
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court order with respect to the calculation of Gillian Johnson’s health insurance premium credit and application of Eric Johnson’s Social Security Retirement benefits. Summarily affirms the Court of Appeals as to the remaining issues. The trial court’s approach was appropriate in light of the flexibility afforded by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2013

December 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carol Sparks Drake v. Thomas A. Dickey, Craig Anderson, Charles E. Podell, and Duke Realty Corporation
29A02-1302-CT-152
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Duke Realty on Drake’s claim that it intentionally interfered with her partnership agreement with the law firm. The trial court erred when it concluded that Drake had failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Duke Realty intentionally induced Parr Richey to terminate Drake as a partner. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2013

December 10, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Didion and Kristi Didion as Parents and Legal Guardians of Brayden Didion v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company
27A02-1303-PL-232
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. on its complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that it had no liability for a dog bite on an insured’s property. The person living at the property was not an insured and Auto-Owners was not given timely notice of the dog bite and injury pursuant to the terms of the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2013

December 9, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lagro Township and Karen Pinkerton Tatro v. George E. Bitzer and Zelma E. Bitzer
85A02-1306-PL-520
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Bitzers on Lagro Township’s action seeking to exercise control over an area of land referred to as “the Belden Cemetery,” which is located on land owned by the Bitzers. The statute authorizing a township trustee to exercise control over cemeteries located within the township is inapplicable where the cemetery is located on land on which property taxes have been paid. And here, even though there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether and to what extent the dedication of the Belden Cemetery to the public was accepted by the public through usage, there is no genuine issue of material fact with regard to the Bitzers’ payment of property taxes on the land on which the Belden Cemetery is located for decades. For this reason alone, the township’s claims of authority over the Belden Cemetery must fail.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2013

December 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Everett Sweet v. State of Indiana
35A02-1305-PC-451
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Sweet’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief. He argued had he not received ineffective counsel on his motion to suppress, the state’s evidence against him would have been suppressed and he would not have pleaded guilty to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine. This is not a permissible basis to collaterally attack a guilty plea in Indiana.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2013

December 5, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Katherine Ryan v. Larry Janovsky
45A03-1304-DR-145
Domestic relation. Reverses denial of Ryan’s petition for contempt and rule to show cause after Janovsky refused to sign a proposed qualified domestic relations order. The entry of a QDRO is not time-barred.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2013

December 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Deeter v. Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
43A04-1305-PL-229
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. regarding Rick Deeter’s claim for insurance proceeds. Determines that when an insurance company has included an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss that results from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will respect the parties’ right to contract and enforce that exclusion. The undisputed designated evidence shows that Callie Deeter purposefully and intentionally burnt down her home, and Farmers was within the scope of its contractual rights to deny the Deeters’ insurance claim in accordance with the intentional loss exclusion contained in the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2013

December 2, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas Blanchar v. Standard Insurance Co.
12-2745
Civil. Affirms District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of Standard, holding that Blanchar is not entitled to overtime compensation  because his work satisfies the requirements of the administrative employee exemption.

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Opinions Nov. 27, 2013

November 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc.
49A04-1305-PL-210
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of a suit seeking class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters and asserted a right to do so. The court found the plaintiff likely entitled to recovery of the fees, and that at minimum the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Remands for proceedings, including whether class certification is appropriate.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2013

November 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wanda Goodpaster, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al.
13-1629
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of the bar owners’ request for injunctive and declaratory relief against the enforcement of the smoking ban in Indianapolis. They cannot succeed on the merits of any of their myriad claims. The injunction the bar owners sought was thus unwarranted.
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Opinions Nov. 25, 2013

November 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James L. Graham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1304-CR-151
Criminal. Vacates a purported habitual offender enhancement and affirms the three-year aggregate sentence following guilty pleas to Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class A misdemeanor operating with suspended license and Class B misdemeanor false informing.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2013

November 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Harold O. Fulp, Jr. v. Nancy A. Gilliland
41S01-1306-TR-426
Trust. Reverses denial of specific performance of the purchase agreement to Harold Fulp Jr. Under the terms of the trust and the Trust Code, Ruth Fulp owed her children no fiduciary duties and was free to sell her farm at less than fair market value; Harold Fulp Jr. is therefore entitled to specific performance. Concludes that Ruth Fulp did not effectively amend the trust by selling the farm.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2013

November 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
B.R., a Minor, by his Guardian, Teresa Todd v. State of Indiana, Indiana Department of Child Services, Morgan County Office of Department of Child Services, and Adult and Child Mental Health Center
55A05-1212-CT-639
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Adult and Child Mental Health Center’s Trial Rule 12(B)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The allegations in B.R.’s complaint, i.e. that his case manager negligently placed him with the respite therapeutic foster parents and negligently failed to inform the foster parents that B.R. was an overly active child known to run from adults and escape his home, are not directly related to any medical care B.R. received from the Health Center. Furthermore, the foster care placement was not made by a health care professional. Because B.R.’s claims sound in general negligence, his claims fall outside the Medical Malpractice Act.
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Opinions Nov. 20, 2013

November 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear
23A01-1303-PL-96
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Spears on their claims of title by acquiescence and adverse possession and denial of summary judgment for the Garrets. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2013

November 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Michela Rinaldi, et al
49S05-1311-CT-759
Civil tort. Reverses order of dismissal and remands to the trial court for further proceedings without prejudice to dismissal under Trial Rule 41(E) if warranted after further consideration.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2013

November 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bart Whitesitt v. Town of Knightstown
33A04-1302-MI-72
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the town of Knightstown. Holds although Indiana Code 33-35-1-1 only allows a second- or third-class city to abolish a local town court every fourth year,  Knightstown did not violate the state statute because its town court was established in 1970 and is, therefore, exempt from the four-year restriction.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2013

November 15, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Patrick Austin v. State of Indiana
20S03-1303-CR-158
Criminal. Affirms conviction and aggregate 45-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. A traffic stop and canine search that led to the discovery of nearly 90 pounds of cocaine hidden in a semi-truck was not unreasonable, and the trial court’s decision to continue Austin’s trial beyond the 70-day speedy trial window due to court congestion was not clearly erroneous.





 
 
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2013

November 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darliss Wert and Gary Wert v. Meridian Security Insurance Company
15A01-1306-CT-252
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the insurance company on the Werts’ underinsured-motorist claim. Provisions in the insurance contract, when read together, make it unclear when the Werts should have filed a lawsuit to preserve their claim and may completely foreclose their ability to file a lawsuit.
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Opinions Nov. 13, 2013

November 13, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Julie Kitchell v. Ted Franklin, as the Mayor of the City of Logansport, and the Common Council of the City of Logansport
09S00-1307-PL-476
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court dismissal of a suit challenging the city’s planned public-private partnership to convert a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity by burning refuse. Justices held that the Indiana Public-Private Agreements statute does not require a local legislative body to adopt an enabling statute before it may issue requests for proposals or begin contract negotiations.
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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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