Opinions

Opinions June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Judson Atkinson Candies, Incorporated v. Kenray Associates, Incorporated, Charles A. McGee and Kenneth J. McGee
12-1035, 12-1036
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann Jr.
Civil. Reverses District Court ruling that Judson Atkinson must demonstrate that it had been induced by fraud to enter into the integration clause in a settlement agreement between it and Kenray Associates, as opposed to the agreement as a whole, in order to circumvent the parol evidence rule. Indiana law does not impose such a bright-line rule.

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Opinions June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Javier Munoz
12-3351
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms 181-month sentence following a guilty plea in 2007 to distributing and possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. Munoz materially breached the conditions of his release and an implied term of the plea agreement by fleeing the country rather than showing up for sentencing.
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Opinions June 7, 2013

June 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Supervised Admin. of the Estate of Cora E. Young, deceased; Terry Douthitt, Kelly Douthitt, and Kevin Douthitt v. Theodore R. Young
53A04-1301-EU-36
Estate, unsupervised. Affirms trial court’s finding that the proceeds of a sale of Cora Young’s property should be distributed to her second husband at her death. Since the property was a specific bequest under Young’s will and was sold before her death, it was adeemed by extinction and therefore the proceeds pass to the residuary beneficiary under her will, which is her second husband.
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Opinions June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott Speers v. State of Indiana
55A01-1208-CR-391
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary and Class D felony theft. The trial court properly denied Speers’ motion for discharge under Rule 4(C) as much of the delay in bringing Speers to trial was attributable to him. The direct examination of the lead detective did not present evidence in such a way as to crate an evidentiary harpoon.
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Opinions June 5, 2013

June 5, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: K.T.K., K.C., and K.R.K. (Minor Children), and R.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office
15S01-1306-JT-402
Juvenile. Sets aside the Court of Appeals order dismissing the mother’s appeal and affirms termination of parental rights. The record supports the trial court’s findings that the conditions resulting in the children’s continued placement outside of the home would not be remedied and termination of parental rights was in the best interest of the children. Denies father’s petition to transfer in separate order.

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Opinions June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
City of Indianapolis v. Rachael Buschman
49S02-1210-CT-598
Civil tort. Affirmed trial court’s grant of summary judgment in Buschman’s favor and remanded the case for further proceedings. Ruled that Buschman’s inclusion of information about her injuries does not restrict the scope of her claim. Although she stated in her claim she did not suffer any injuries from an auto accident involving an Indianapolis police officer, the amended statute governing the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not require a description of injuries. The court concluded when the Legislature amended the statute, it intended to remove any pre-existing requirement of specificity in regards to personal injuries.  
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Opinions June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jeffrey Weaver
12-3324
Criminal. Vacates judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and remands for resentencing. Weaver was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment after the District Court determined his sentence should be enhanced because he was functioning as a manager/supervisor in supplying methamphetamine to two buyers and pressuring them to sell the drugs. The Circuit Court found his actions did not rise to the 3-level enhancement because he did not have the control necessary to coerce the buyers. Instead Weaver was encouraging behavior that would protect his investment and insure payment of the debt owed to him. 
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Opinions May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Brian Scott Hartman v. State of Indiana
68S01-1305-CR-395
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress Hartman’s confession. Found Hartman’s previous invocation of his Miranda rights was still in place when detectives questioned him days later because his earlier request for counsel was unproductive which likely increased the coercive pressure.  

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Opinions May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Daniel L. Delaney
12-2849
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Delaney’s argument that no reasonable juror could have failed to find that he acted in the heat of passion when he killed his cellmate fails because there was considerable evidence of forethought, much of it emanating from the defendant’s own statements. Judge Bauer concurs.
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Opinions May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jill Finfrock a/k/a Jill Bastone v. Mark Finfrock
64A05-1209-DR-489
Domestic relation. Reverses award of attorney fees to Mark Finfrock. The award was based on perceived violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is inapplicable because Finfrock’s arrearage of child support is not considered “debt” under the Act. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by declining Jill Bastone’s request to enter a qualified domestic relations order to attach to the entirety of her ex-husband’s retirement account. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Streeter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
44A04-1110-PC-640
Post conviction. Affirms denial of amended petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare, Inc. v. Indiana Family & Social Services Administration
49A04-1209-MI-467
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of the daycare’s motion to dissolve and/or modify the order in the First Amended Agreement Judgment between the daycare and FSSA. The trial court properly determined that Rebirth cannot employ LaSonda Carter pursuant to I.C. 12-17.2-6-14 despite an earlier trial court order restricting access to her criminal record.
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Opinions May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tommy L. Morris, personal representative of the estate of Thomas Lynn Morris v. Salvatore Nuzzo
12-3220
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Vacates the dismissal of the claims of Tommy Morris against Nuzzo. The District Court erred in its determination that Nuzzo was fraudulently joined. Remands with instructions the case be further remanded to the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of Ohio.
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Opinions May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lydia Lanni v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al.
49A05-1208-CT-392
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the NCAA on Lanni’s negligence claim. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied Lanni’s April 20, 2012, motion for alteration of time. It effectively deprived her of a reasonable opportunity to present any material made pertinent to a Trial Rule 56 motion. Affirms denial of Lanni’s motion to strike the affidavit by the NCAA’s fencing championship manager, designated by the NCAA, that the NCAA was not involved in the fencing match where Lanni was injured.
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Opinions May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles Pickering v. Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC d/b/a Horseshoe Southern Indiana
31A01-1209-CT-429
Civil tort. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant, holding that an injury Charles Pickering sustained after passing beneath caution tape and falling on a snowy and icy parking garage surface could not be attributed to Horseshoe Casino, which had cordoned off the area.
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Opinions May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John W. Bloch, III
12-2784
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. The court affirmed a conviction of firearm possession by a felon, but found error in convictions of two counts under 18 U.S.C. Section 922 because the possession of two firearms arose from the same incident. Ordered the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to merge the convictions and resentence Bloch on a single count.
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Opinions May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana ex rel. Glenn D. Commons, et al. v. The Hon. John R. Pera, et al.
45S00-1303-OR-209
Original action/judiciary. Grants in part and denies in part relief sought by relators, Lake County magistrates, who sought to prevent civil division Judge Nicholas Schiralli from transferring to the juvenile bench. The court held that Schiralli, who had not been appointed to the bench through merit selection, may not transfer without first being appointed through merit selection. The court denied the magistrates’ request that no judicial transfers be allowed without merit selection. The court denied Lake County judges’ assertion that the Lake County merit selection statute in question, I.C. 33-33-45-21(e), is unconstitutional.
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Opinions May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason Lee Sowers v. State of Indiana
08A02-1208-CR-640
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class D felonies criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement. The bailiff improperly communicated with the jury foreperson, resulting in fundamental error. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Bradford dissents.
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Opinions May 15, 2013

May 15, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Richard J. Bond and Janet A. Bond, et al. v. Templeton Coal Company, Inc.
42A01-1209-PL-419
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Templeton Coal Co. on its complaint to quiet title to certain mineral interests. Considering Section 2’s ambiguity, the rule to strictly construe acts in derogation of the common law, and the Mineral Lapse Act’s underlying purposes, holds that Section 2 of the Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the twenty-year period immediately preceding the effective date of the Act, or September 2, 1951.
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Opinions May 14, 2013

May 14, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. John Doe
49S00-1201-CT-14
Civil tort. Reverses judgment declaring I.C. 34-51-3-4, -5, and -6 impermissibly inconsistent with Article 1, Section 20 and Article 3, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution. The cap and allocation scheme of punitive damages does not infringe upon the right to a jury trial, and the cap does not offend the separation of powers. Remands with instructions to grant Stewart’s motion to reduce the punitive damages to the statutory maximum and order that 75 percent of the award be deposited in the Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund. 
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Opinions May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph Matheny v. State of Indiana
49A04-1207-CR-347
Criminal. Grants petition for rehearing to clarify that the previous holding – that the trial court’s refusal of Matheny’s tendered instruction constituted error in light of Santiago v. State and Albores v. State – does not conflict with those cases. The judges reaffirmed their original decision which affirmed the Class D felony auto theft conviction and found that although the trial court erred in refusing to give the instruction regarding the jury’s duty to conform the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent, the error was harmless.
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Opinions May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Royce Brown v. John F. Caraway, Warden
12-1439
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Brown’s petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. Section 2241 in which he argued under Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008), his prior Delaware conviction for arson in the third degree did not qualify as a crime of violence. Brown is entitled to relief, and under Begay, his prior conviction doesn’t qualify as “generic” arson under the enumerated crimes clause of the career offender guideline, nor is it covered by the residual clause. Remands with instructions to reduce his drug and firearm sentence to reflect that he is not a career offender under Section U.S.S.G. Section 4B1.1. Chief Judge Easterbrook issued a statement concerning the circulation under Circuit Rule 40(e).
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Opinions May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bonnie Moryl, as Surviving Spouse and Personal Rep. of the Estate of Richard A. Moryl, Deceased v. Carey B. Ransone, M.D.; La Porte Hospital; Dawn Forney, RN; Wanda Wakeman, RN BSBA; et al.
46A04-1112-CT-710
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants, on which the trial court determined that Bonnie Moryl’s proposed complaint for medical malpractice was not timely filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance. The trial court properly found that her complaint sent to the DOI by FedEx was filed one day late under the two-year statute of limitations.
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Opinions May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Terri Basden v. Professional Transportation Inc.
11-2880
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Professional Transportation on Basden’s claim she was terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act. Basden failed to present evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie right to the protection of the ADA or FMLA.
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Opinions May 7, 2013

May 7, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jose J. Loera, Jr. v. United States of America
11-3223
Criminal. Affirms drug conviction and 240-month prison sentence, holding that Loera failed to prove his attorney provided ineffective legal counsel. Loera claimed that a prior grant of a motion to suppress his statements to police before consulting an attorney should have been binding on future proceedings. The court held it was doubtful that a subsequent refusal to suppress on different grounds, if it was error, was harmful.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. 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)

  4. "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.

  5. 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.

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