Opinions

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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Opinions Nov. 20, 2012

November 20, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lincoln Plowman
11-3781
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms Plowman’s convictions of federal funds bribery and attempted extortion under color of official right. The District Court did not err when it precluded him from arguing entrapment to the jury.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2012

November 19, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dr. Norma Kreilein, Rock Emmert, and Healthy Dubois County, Inc. v. Common Council of the City of Jasper and Jasper Utility Board
19A04-1201-MI-51
Miscellaneous/Open Door Law. Reverses trial court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion to amend complaint, continue trial and compel discovery, and remands for a new trial. The court held that plaintiffs were diligent in pursing discovery but were thwarted for months by Jasper’s refusal to cooperate.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2012

November 16, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marybeth Lebo v. State of Indiana
46A05-1202-CR-104
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s judgment in denying motion to dismiss charges of failure to report child abuse or neglect. Lebo argued the charges were not permissible because they came after the statute of limitations had passed but the COA disagreed, finding the Legislature’s intent was to make the failure to report a continuing offense. Otherwise, the court stated, the duty to report would be limited to the day on which the individual comes to believe abuse is taking place.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2012

November 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derek Asklar and Pauline Asklar v. David Gilb, Paul Garrett Smith d/b/a P.H. One Trucking, Empire Fire and Marine Ins. Co., d/b/a Zurich; Travelers Ideminity Co. of America
02A03-1204-CT-170
Civil tort/insurance. Affirms in part and reverses in part the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Empire, holding that Indiana law rather than Georgia law should apply in the case, but determining that Empire’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limit is still only $75,000, as the trial court ruled.
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2012

November 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Fox v. Nichter Construction Co., Inc.
03A01-1202-SC-52
Small claims/wages. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands in part the dismissal of Fox’s wage claim with prejudice and orders the court to enter a dismissal of the claim with prejudice. A divided appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Fox had pursued his claim through the Department of Labor under the Wage Claim statute before filing suit. The appeals court ordered the trial court to dismiss the case without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, including the failure to name the real party in interest. Fox may refile his claim setting forth the reassignment by the Department of Labor.
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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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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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