Opinions

Opinions April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey M. Miller and Cynthia S. Miller v. Federal Express Corporation and 500 Festival, Inc.
49A02-1307-PL-619
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Federal Express and 500 Festival. The panel held that the entities were immune from the Millers’ claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to online comments critical to his leadership of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. The entities are immune to the claims under the Communications Decency Act, which recognizes them as providers, not publishers, of Internet content.
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Opinions April 2, 2014

April 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
David S. Healey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1308-MI-368
Miscellaneous. Affirms the trial court’s order directing law enforcement and the Indiana Department of Correction to ensure that Healey’s information was no longer published on the Sex and Violent Offender Registry. Healey had appealed the order, arguing the trial court should have stated the 1995 amendment to the Sex and Violent Offender Registration Act was ex post facto punishment as applied to him and the trial court should have specifically noted any extraneous statements that it had made.
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Opinions April 1, 2014

April 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Bryant E. Wilson v. State of Indiana
27S02-1309-CR-584
Criminal. Reverses trial court denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence and remands for resentencing. Holds that the Indiana Code does not authorize a sentence to be imposed in part as consecutive and in part as concurrent, and orders Wilson resentenced on a rape conviction for an aggregate term not to exceed 50 years in prison.
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Opinions March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Randall Causey, 13-1321
Criminal. Affirms Causey’s convictions and 108-month sentence for one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349 and eight counts of aiding and abetting the commission of, and committing the offenses of, wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343. Ruled that the District Court did not abused its discretion in admitting evidence and that the District Court erred in barring the defense witness from giving expert testimony while allowing the expert testimony by the government witness. Also finds the District Court properly applied two-level sentencing enhancement. 
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Opinions March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re Paternity of D.T. (Minor Child) Diamond T. Parks (Mother) v. Deante Rashon Tate (Father)
48A05-1309-JP-486
Juvenile. Reverses award of custody to father, who resided in Indiana, from mother, who lived in Mississippi. The trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court adjudicated the custody request of father as part of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act cause of action, even though the UIFSA specifies that the court lacks jurisdiction to make such a determination absent a stipulation between the parties. 
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Opinions March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Smith v. State of Indiana
18S02-1304-CR-297
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B misdemeanor failure to report a student’s rape allegation to DCS or local law enforcement based on the statute that requires a school to report instances of child abuse. The reporting requirement is not unconstitutionally vague and there is sufficient evidence to sustain Smith’s conviction. Justices Rucker and Chief Justice Dickson dissent in a separate opinion.
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Opinions March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of I.P., T.P. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, and Child Advocates, Inc.
49S02-1402-JT-81
Juvenile. Reverses termination of parental rights. Finds the procedure used violated the father T.P.’s due process rights. The magistrate who presided over the termination hearing resigned before reporting recommended findings and conclusions to the judge. Another magistrate, without holding a new evidentiary hearing, reviewed the record and reported recommended findings and conclusions to the judge, who ordered the mother’s parental rights terminated. Holds Trial Rule 63(A) is inapplicable.
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Opinions March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Joanna S. Robinson v. State of Indiana
20S04-1307-CR-471
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Robinson’s motion to suppress. Agrees with trial court in giving deference to deputy’s testimony that he initiated the traffic stop after observing Robinson drive off the roadway twice even though the video from the deputy’s in-car camera only shows Robinson weaving onto the fog line. Rucker dissents, asserting giving credit to the deputy’s testimony over the video amounts to reweighing evidence.
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Opinions March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. I.T.
20S03-1309-JV-583
Juvenile. Affirms juvenile court’s dismissal of a delinquency petition against I.T. that had been filed on the sole basis of a polygraph examination taken while he was receiving treatment as a condition of probation for a delinquency adjudication for what would be Class B felony child molesting if committed by an adult. Finds that the limited immunity in the Juvenile Mental Health Statute, I.C. § 31-32-2-2.5, provides a safe harbor that prevents the state from using statements during court-ordered therapy as the sole basis for juvenile delinquency petitions.  Concludes the state may appeal a juvenile court order that suppresses evidence, if doing so terminates the proceeding.
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Opinions March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nathan Wertz v. Asset Acceptance, LLC.
71A03-1305-CC-175
Civil Collection. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of Wertz’s counterclaim against Asset Acceptance, LLC. Finds that the Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code’s licensure requirement does not apply to Asset because it does not have a physical location in Indiana. Since Asset is not required to obtain a license under IUCCC, Wertz’s claims that Asset violated the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cannot stand. 
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Opinions March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Zachary Mulholland v. Marion County Election Board
13-3027
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of Mulholland’s lawsuit to enjoin Marion County Election Board proceedings relating to a slating violation and to enjoin the future enforcement of I.C. 3-14-1-2(a), the anti-slating law. The election board’s investigation is too preliminary a proceeding to warrant Younger abstention, at least in the wake of Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs, 134 S. Ct. 584 (2013). Even if Younger abstention were theoretically available after Sprint, the previous final federal judgment against the defendant Election Board holding the same statute facially unconstitutional would still amount to an extraordinary circumstance making Younger abstention inappropriate.
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Opinions March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988, Inc. v. Morgan County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals and Morgan County Assessor
49T10-1201-TA-4
Tax. Affirms board of tax review’s determination that the Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988 Inc. was not entitled to either a fraternal beneficiary association exemption or a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year.
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Opinions March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
David S. Delagrange v. State of Indiana
49S04-1304-CR-249
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class C felony attempted child exploitation, finding sufficient evidence supports them. The state did not need to show Delagrange actually succeeded in capturing images of uncovered genitals, just that he took a “substantial step” toward doing so.
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Opinions March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eddie Horton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1307-CR-323
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.
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Opinions March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Leonard Thomas v. Keith Butts, et al.
12-2902
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Vacates dismissal of Thomas’ lawsuit against prison officials alleging deliberate indifference to his epilepsy in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The judge dismissed the suit without determining if Thomas was at fault for not paying the initial filing fee.
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Opinions March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014
 Indiana Supreme Court
Joseph D. Hardiman and Jaketa L. Patterson, as Co-Administrators of the Estate of Britney R. Meux, Deceased v. Jason R. Cozmanoff
45S03-1309-CT-619
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s ordering the limited stay of discovery regarding only Cozmanoff in the estate’s wrongful death lawsuit against him and requiring him to answer the complaint. The civil suit was brought while criminal charges for Meux’s death were still pending. Notes the ruling does not mean the trial court was constitutionally required to impose the stay but that it did not abuse its discretion by so doing. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cindy Golden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
12-3901
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Golden’s complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) and denies her motion to certify questions of state law to the Indiana Supreme Court. She alleges in her lawsuit that State Farm owes its insureds a duty to explain at the time a policy is issued that in-house counsel may be used to defend its insureds against third-party claims.
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Opinions March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Adrian Lotaki
32S01-1403-CR-151
Criminal. Reverses sentencing order, holding the trial court erred in calculating credit time for a battery committed while Adrian Lotaki was serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. Because sentences for crimes committed in prison are by statute served consecutively, the credit time awarded against the battery conviction effectively enabled Lotaki to serve part of his consecutive sentence concurrently. Remands for resentencing.
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Opinions March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff L. Ewing and Renee Ewing, Household Finance Corporation III v. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for the Structured Asset Securities Corp., Series 2005-GEL4
50A03-1308-MF-327
Mortgage foreclosure. Finds summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank was appropriate. Also affirms U.S. Bank’s motion to dismiss the Ewings’ supplemental complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Ewings argued the bank failed to act in good faith during the settlement discussions as required by the Alternative Dispute Resolution rules. The COA held the settlement talks were not a mediation, so the A.D.R. rules did not apply.
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Opinions March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimel Pimpton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1308-CR-676
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections.
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Opinions March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Carol Y. Woodard
12-3363
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Finds the District Court did not abuse its discretion by not ordering a second competency evaluation because the court reached a reasonable conclusion after it reviewed a previous psychological evaluation, considered the advice of two mental health professionals, and considered Woodard’s interactions with her attorney. Finds the District Court violated the ex post facto clause at sentencing by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines. Remands for resentencing.
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Opinions March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, et. al.
49A04-1302-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order upholding an administrative order that Commonwealth take certain actions to cure its violations of the Rate Statute, the Unsafe Business Practices Statute and the Gross Premium Tax Statute. Concludes that substantial evidence supports the IDOI’s determination that Commonwealth violated the statutes and that the cures imposed by the IDOI for Commonwealth’s violations of these statutes are authorized by the Cure Statute.
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Opinions March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph and M. Carmen Wysocki v. Barbara A. and William T. Johnson, both individually and as Trustees of the Barbara A. Johnson Living Trust
45A03-1309-CT-385
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Wysockis’ request for attorney fees and additional damages under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act. The Wysockis were not victims of the criminal offense of fraud because the Johnsons were not charged with that crime in relation to the sale of the house, much less convicted of it in a court of law. In the absence of such a conviction, the CVRA does not apply.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2014

February 28, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mary L. Anderson v. Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp.
49A05-1309-CT-442
Civil tort. Affirms order setting aside its default judgment against Wayne Post 64, American Legion Corp. Anderson failed to serve the American Legion in a manner authorized by the Indiana Trial Rules.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2014

February 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John A. Peters III
12-3830
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence discovered during the search of a car in which Peters was a passenger. The District Court committed no error in crediting the testimony of an experienced police officer who, after observing two cars traveling in tandem for a period of time, said he credibly believed that the trailing car was approximately 75 feet behind the lead car at a speed of approximately 60 miles-per-hour. If an officer knowing these facts could reasonably conclude that this combination of speed and distance violated Indiana law, that is all that is necessary to support probable cause.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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