Opinions

Opinions Oct. 26, 2016

October 26, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
F. John Rogers, as Personal Representative of Paul Michalik, Deceased, and R. David Boyer, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of Jerry Lee Chambers v. Angela Martin and Brian Paul Brothers
02S05-1603-CT-114
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Angela Martin on the negligence claim brought by Michalik’s estate. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Martin on the Dram Shop Act claim.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2016

October 25, 2016

Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Terry Lee Smith
91S00-1603-DI-136
Disciplinary. Enters judgment in favor of Terry Lee Smith. Finds that the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission failed to meet its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that Smith violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(d).

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Opinions Oct. 21, 2016

October 21, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Mary K. Patchett v. Ashley N. Lee
29S04-1610-CT-549
Civil tort. Finds on interlocutory appeal that the ruling in Stanley v. Walker, 906 N.E.2d 852 (Ind. 2009), permitting defendants in a personal injury lawsuit to introduce discounted reimbursements negotiated between the plaintiff’s medical providers and his private health insurer, so long as insurance is not referenced, also applies to reimbursements by government payers.
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2016

October 20, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Tyson Timbs and a 2012 Land Rover LR2
27A04-1511-MI-1976
Miscellaneous/civil forfeiture. Majority affirms trial court ruling that the forfeiture of Tyson Timbs’ 2012 Land Rover was a constitutionally excessive fine when the state sought to seize the vehicle after he was charged with two counts of Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance and one count of Class D felony conspiracy to commit theft.  Dissenting Judge Michael Barnes would reverse the trial court and grant the State’s forfeiture request.
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Opinions Oct. 19, 2016

October 19, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Charles Summers
09A02-1604-MI-933
Miscellaneous. Reverses Cass Superior Court’s order granting Charles Summers’ petition to remove his name from the sex-offender registry. Finds that because Summers was under a tolling requirement in Illinois, there is no punitive burden to maintaining that requirement across state lines and that there is no ex post facto violation. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 18, 2016

October 18, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana ex rel. Indiana Department of Transportation v. Joshua Dehaven and FBi Buildings, Inc.
37A05-1603-CC-648
Civil collection. Affirms denial of the State of Indiana, ex rel. Indiana Department of Transportation’s motion for summary judgment in lawsuit against Joshua DeHaven and FBi Buildings, Inc. INDOT is not entitled to recover, as a matter of law, the actual cost incurred to repair the bridge after DeHaven struck it with his trailer.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2016

October 17, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles J. Davis Sr. v. Jay Phelps, Bartholomew County Clerk

03A01-1604-PL-928
Civil plenary. Reverses Bartholomew Circuit Court’s order dismissing Charles J. Davis Sr.’s complaint for failure to make a timely payment of fees. Finds that Davis should have been given 45 days to make the payment, but was only given 30 days. Remands with instructions for Davis to re-send the filing fee of $17.18 within 45 days.

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Opinions Oct. 14, 2016

October 14, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kent R. Blair, Sr. v. State of Indiana
02A05-1604-CR-832
Criminal. Affirms Kent Blair’s convictions of invasion of privacy as a Level 6 felony and criminal trespass as a Class A misdemeanor, and his sentence to 1 ½ years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the evidence is sufficient to sustain Blair’s convictions, that the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing him and that his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.
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Opinions Oct. 13, 2016

October 13, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Danny Sims v. Andrew Pappas and Melissa Pappas
45A03-1509-CT-1424
Civil tort. Majority reverses jury award of $2 million in favor of the Pappases in a lawsuit following a crash caused by Sims, an intoxicated driver. The trial court erred in admitting Sims’ prior decades-old convictions for alcohol-related offenses that neither proved nor disproved any facts that were central to the questions the jury decided, and were therefore irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial. Judge Robert Altice dissents, arguing admission of the evidence of past convictions was for the sole purpose of establishing punitive damages and bear on the reprehensibility of his actions and state of mind.  

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Opinions Oct. 12, 2016

October 12, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
James Blasius v. Angel Automotive, Inc.
15-2994
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses district court decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Angel Automotive Inc. after James Blasius accused the company of negligence. Finds that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to the proximate cause of the fire that consumed Blasius’ vehicle and that Blasius is entitled to rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Oct. 11, 2016

October 11, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Allen County Plan Commission, et al. v. Olde Canal Place Association, et al.
02A03-1412-PL-441
Civil plenary. Reverses Allen Superior Court’s order granting Olde Canal Place Association and its members relief from judgment. Finds that the association cannot establish a meritorious claim. Remands with instructions to vacate the judgment setting aside its dismissal of the association’s petition for judicial review.

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Opinions Oct. 6, 2016

October 6, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of N.G. (Minor Child), and N.R.G. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
71A04-1602-JT-346
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Remands with instructions to provide more specific findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the termination of N.R.G.’s parental rights to her daughter, N.G.
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Opinions Oct. 5, 2016

October 5, 2016
Indiana Tax Court
Hamilton Square Investment, LLC. v. Hamilton County Assessor
49T10-1505-TA-00018
Tax. Reverses the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review. Remands to the Indiana Board of Tax Review to instruct the appropriate officials to take action. Finds that Hamilton Square Investment LLC was correct in its claim that the board erred in upholding the classification of its real property and the allocation of its tax cap credits for the 2012 tax year.
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Opinions Oct. 4, 2016

October 4, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Lewis, III v. State of Indiana
45S00-1601-LW-32
Life without parole. Resentences Robert Lewis to a total of 88 years’ imprisonment for his convictions of murder, criminal deviate conduct as a Class B felony and resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony. Remands to the trial court for the imposition of the sentences.
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2016

October 3, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Michael R. Pence, in his official capacity as Governor of Indiana, et al.
16-1509
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms preliminary injunction barring Gov. Mike Pence from ordering federal money to assist the resettlement of Syrian refugees be withheld because of potential terror threats. The district judge was correct in granting the injunction because Exodus is likely to prevail in a trial on the merits.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2016

September 30, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Kadrovach v. State of Indiana
49A02-1510-CR-1738
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder for a hotdog vendor who stabbed a man in the head in downtown Indianapolis. The court did not commit fundamental error when it instructed the jury as to the mens rea necessary to convict him of attempted murder.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2016

September 29, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jakob Robinson v. State of Indiana
79A02-1603-CR-522
Criminal. Affirms eight year sentence, with five years in the Department of Correction and three suspended to probation, following Robinson’s guilty plea to five counts of child seduction as Level 5 felonies. His sentence is not inappropriate given his manipulation of his victim, a student at the school where he taught and coached, and his abuse of his position of trust over her.
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Opinions Sept. 28, 2016

September 28, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Susan E. Sturdivant v. State of Indiana
08A02-1601-CR-186
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to allow Susan Sturdivant to conduct her own defense. Finds that there was no evidence that Sturdivant was suffering from severe mental illness.
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Opinions Sept. 27, 2016

September 27, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dale Sedam, Kim Sedam, and Bryan Norris, as co-personal representatives of the Estate of David C. Hamblin, deceased v. 2JR Pizza Enterprises, LLC doing business as Pizza Hut #013413, et al.
39A05-1602-CT-296
Civil tort. Reverses partial summary judgment in favor of Pizza Hut after its employee, Amanda Parker, was involved in a car accident that killed David C. Hamblin while she was acting within the scope of her employment. Finds that an employer’s admission that its employee committed the alleged negligent act within the scope of her employment does not preclude an action for negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2016

September 26, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jon A. Arnold v. State of Indiana
88A01-1603-PC-677
Post conviction. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny Jon A. Arnold’s petition for post-conviction relief. Arnold has not established that a defense overlooked by trial counsel would have likely changed the outcome of the proceeding.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2016

September 23, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Adoption of: J.S.S. and K.N.S., Rayburn and Beth Robinson v. M.R.S.
02A04-1603-AD-545
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny B.R. and R.R.’s motion to correct error after the trial court found that they had not established clear and convincing evidence necessary to dispense with parental consent. B.R. and R.R., foster parents, had petitioned to adopt J.S.S. and K.N.S. without the consent of their father, M.S.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2016

September 22, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darwick Young v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1602-CR-216
Criminal. Affirms Darwick Young’s conviction for Level 2 felony dealing in cocaine, Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance and Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Remands with instructions to vacate Young’s Level 3 felony possession of cocaine conviction and to revise his sentence.
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Opinions Sept. 21, 2016

September 21, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andre C. Coleman v. State of Indiana
49A02-1511-CR-1999
Criminal. Vacates imposition of supplemental public defender and probation fees against Andre Coleman. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 20, 2016

September 20, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christina Schermerhorn v. State of Indiana
49A02-1510-CR-1643
Criminal. Affirms Christina Schermerhorn’s convictions of criminal recklessness, a Class A misdemeanor, and domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor.

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Opinions Sept. 16, 2016

September 16, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bradley Starr by Next Friend Heather Starr-Haller and Heather Starr-Haller v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Company and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
32A05-1605-PL-976
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for State Farm on Starr-Haller’s complaint seeking coverage for an auto accident. State Farm did not waive its right to deny Starr-Haller the coverage she now claims for an accident that occurred after her coverage had lapsed.
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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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