Opinions

Opinions Dec. 8, 2011

December 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.M., G.M., and R.M.; A.M. (Mother) and C.M. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office
15A01-1104-JT-204
Juvenile. Reverses termination of mother A.M.’s parental rights. The Department of Child Services did not establish by clear and convincing evidence the requisite statutory elements to support the termination. Judge Darden concurs in result.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2011

December 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Estate of Melissa K. Patrick: Yvonne Griffith v. Jason Patrick
17A03-1104-ES-190
Estate, supervised. Affirms denial of the estate’s motion to dismiss a petition for survivor’s allowance filed by Melissa Patrick’s surviving spouse, Jason. The trial court did not commit clear error in determining that Ind. Code 29-1-2-14 did not divest Patrick of a survivor’s share of the estate with his late wife.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2011

December 6, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
A.A.Q. v. State of Indiana
71A03-1105-JV-239
Juvenile. Affirms judgment of juvenile court finding A.A.Q. a juvenile delinquent for committing an act that would have been Class A misdemeanor trespass if committed by an adult. Holds that A.A.Q. and his parents waived the right to counsel.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2011

December 5, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Linzy C. Clark v. State of Indiana
48A04-1104-CR-249
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s denial of Clark’s motion to dismiss the notice of probation violation. After the probation was transferred from Madison County to Tippecanoe County, the Tippecanoe County court held supervisory authority. It received notice of the probation violation, but Madison County – the sentencing court – did not, nor did it file the notice of probation violation within 45 days of receiving the notice of violation.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2011

December 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Billy Jack Steele v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1104-CR-194
Criminal. Affirms eight-year sentence for Class C felony robbery.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2011

December 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bridgett Stevens v. Housing Authority of South Bend, Indiana, et al. and State of Indiana
10-2724
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for defendants on Stevens’ federal claims alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the 14th Amendment and the decline by the court to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims, dismissing them without prejudice. Injunctive relief is no longer available to Stevens because she voluntarily left her public housing apartment after receiving two additional notices indicating that she must leave due to violating housing policy. The first notice was therefore lawfully issued, and Stevens has no claim for emotional distress caused by a wholly lawful action.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2011

November 30, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Jewell v. State of Indiana
32S04-1104-CR-200
Criminal. Affirms denial of Jewell’s motion to suppress recorded phone conversations between him and his former stepdaughter and finds his sentence is appropriate for six counts relating to child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child seduction. Holds that under the broader protections of Article 1, Section 13 of the Indiana Constitution, the right to counsel is violated only where the different offense is inextricably intertwined with the charge on which counsel is already representing the defendant.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2011

November 29, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
David Hopper v. State of Indiana
13S01-1007-PC-399
Post conviction. Grants rehearing to address the role and necessity of advising someone of the risks of dealing with prosecutors without a lawyer. The post-conviction court was right that Hopper’s waiver of counsel was voluntary and intelligent. Finds Hopper’s contention that advisement language should be mandatory in all stages of all cases with all defendants is misplaced. Justice Rucker dissents with separate opinion, in which Justice Sullivan concurs.
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Opinions Nov. 28, 2011

November 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jennings Daugherty v. State of Indiana
89A05-1103-CR-131
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony possession of cocaine and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance. Daugherty’s arguments on appeal are insufficient to demonstrate reversible error. Affirms the admission of the state’s evidence.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2011

November 23, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Monica Del Carmen Gonzalez-Servin, et. al. v. Fort Motor Company, et. al.
11-1665
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, the court affirmed decisions by District Courts in Indiana and Illinois granting forum non conveniens in multidistrict litigation. In the Indiana case, the court held that Judge Sarah Evans Barker was acting within her discretion in deciding that the courts of Mexico would be better suited to adjudication of a lawsuit by Mexican citizens arising from the death of another Mexican citizen in an accident in Mexico.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2011

November 22, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Lisa Gray v. State of Indiana

82S01-1106-CR-328
Criminal. Reinstates trial court’s guilty verdict on Gray’s charge of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, rejecting the argument that insufficient evidence existed to support her conviction. Holds that the word of two police officers held more influence with the trial court than the testimony of Gray’s son, whom Gray appeared to be coaching during trial about how to answer questions.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2011

November 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jim Norris v. Personal Finance
27A04-1104-SC-183
Small claim. Reverses trial court’s decision denying Norris relief, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that under Trial Rule 4.16, Norris’ parents – when served a notice of claim against Norris – had a duty to inform the court that Norris did not live with them.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2011

November 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Marks and Karen Marks v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company
45A05-1011-CT-675
Civil tort. On petition for rehearing, affirms original decision in all respects, holding that the semi-trailer from which David Marks fell was owned by a subcontractor of a general contractor, and therefore Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is not liable for the accident.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2011

November 17, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Spine Group, PC v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC
93S02-1102-EX-90
Miscellaneous. Reverses decision by Worker’s Compensation Board dismissing as untimely Indiana Spine Group’s application for adjustment of claim. Holds that the Worker’s Compensation Act is silent on the question of the limitation period applicable to a medical provider’s claim seeking payment of outstanding bills for authorized treatment to an employer’s employee. Holds that the limitation period contained in the general statute of limitation controls. Remands for further proceedings consistent with opinion.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2011

November 16, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Green River Motel Management of Dale, LLC, et al. v. State of Indiana
74A05-1104-PL-169
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Green River’s motion for summary judgment. A state action that merely alters the flow of traffic or causes access by a more circuitous route can’t give rise to a taking as a matter of law. Affirms on all other respects.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2011

November 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jesse Puckett v. State of Indiana
90A02-1104-CR-369
Criminal. Reverses sentencing decision that required Puckett to serve his entire previously suspended four-year sentence after Puckett admitted to violating his probation for Class C felony child molesting. The trial judge’s statement of reasons for the sentence is problematic. Holds it is improper when revoking probation for a trial court to find that the defendant actually committed a more serious crime than the one or ones of which he or she was originally convicted. Remands for another hearing regarding the revocation of probation.
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2011

November 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
D.E. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1103-JV-319
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as a delinquent through D.E.’s plea agreement. D.E. didn’t demonstrate that the waivers in the plea agreement didn’t comport with Ind. Code 31-32-5-1. Placement of D.E. in a juvenile correction facility was not an abuse of discretion.
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2011

November 10, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dale Russell
10-2259
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms Dale Russell’s convictions of producing sexually explicit photographs of his minor daughters, which later crossed international boundaries, and his 38-year prison sentence.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2011

November 9, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Paternity of M.F.; N.F. v. J.T.
10A01-1101-JP-15
Juvenile. Reverses portion of the order finding mother N.F. in contempt because she presented a prima facie case that the trial court abused its discretion. Reverses order that mother pay attorney fees based on the contempt finding. Affirms portion of the order that requires N.F. buy a plane ticket for M.F. to visit her father in Florida. Judge Kirsch dissents without opinion.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2011

November 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jessica J. Jelinek v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security
10-3340
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment of an administrative law judge that Jelinek’s collective mental and physical impairments were severe but not disabling. Reverses and remands for further proceedings on mother’s request for supplemental security income for daughter.
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Opinions Nov. 4, 2011

November 4, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Perkins v. Jayco, Inc.
93A02-1104-EX-361
Miscellaneous. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s affirmation of a single hearing member, who had concluded that Perkins’ employer is not responsible for providing palliative care to Perkins. Holds that the board erred in concluding that a finding that Perkins had reached maximum medical improvement allows for an inference that future treatment is not needed, but held that the error was harmless as a doctor’s report indicated future medical treatments would not be causally related to Perkins’ work injury.
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Opinions Nov. 3, 2011

November 3, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Dodd and Katherine Dodd v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company
12A02-1010-CT-1414
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part summary judgment for American Family. There are disputes of material fact as to whether American Family effectively rescinded the policy and if it did not, whether it breached the policy by denying the Dodds’ claims. The trial court did not err by granting American Family’s motion for summary judgment on the claims for punitive damages and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 2, 2011

November 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Monte Murphy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1009-CR-1040
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of receiving a ballot, entered as Class A misdemeanors.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2011

November 1, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rose Acre Farms Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co. and National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford
11-1599
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the insurers on whether they have to defend Rose Acre Farms in the antitrust complaint. The suit for which Rose Acre wants a defense makes no claim that the policy could be thought to cover.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2011

October 31, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas J. Ostrowski and Phyllis Ostrowski v. Everest Healthcare Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Merrillville Dialysis Center, and Family Mobile Medical Services, Inc.
45A03-1012-CT-645
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of defendants Everest Healthcare Indiana and Family Mobile Medical Services on Thomas Ostrowski’s suit for negligence against the building owner and the EMT’s employer after he was injured by a door opening and hitting his hand. The trial court did not err in giving the sudden emergency instruction or in permitting the defendants’ expert witness to testify. The lay witness did not improperly testify as an expert witness. 
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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