Opinions

Opinions Feb. 2, 2012

February 2, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Emergency Services Billing Corp. Inc., individually (and as agent for) agent of Westville Volunteer Fire Department v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al.
11-2381
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division at Lafayette, Judge John E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of ESBC’s suit seeking individuals involved in car accidents are responsible for the clean-up costs of hazardous substances released after accidents. A motor vehicle owned for personal use is a “consumer product in consumer use” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and thus owners/operators of personal motor vehicles are exempt from CERCLA’s response-cost provisions.
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Opinions Feb. 1, 2012

February 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mitchell & Stark Construction Company, Inc. v. Strand Associates, Inc., as successor In interest to Sieco, Inc. (NFP)
36A04-1103-CT-79
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Strand Associates.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2012

January 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dale J. Atkins v. Michael Zenk
11-1891
Civil. Affirms U.S. District Court’s denial of habeas corpus petition, holding Atkins did not prove his claim that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of trial counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Johnnie S. McCaa
56A04-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of McCaa’s motion to suppress evidence, holding that due to the unusual circumstances of an initial traffic stop, police did not err in asking McCaa to drive his truck to another location, where he ultimately failed field sobriety tests.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Holland, A Concerned Citizen for the Redevelopment of Gary v. Richard Steele, Barbara Steele, First Midwest Bank, As Successor Trustee By Way of Merger to Bank Calumet, N.A., et al.
45A03-1102-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Holland was not entitled to summary judgment on his quiet title claim, and grant of summary judgment to the bank on its trespass and slander of title claims. The trial court properly found that Holland had filed a frivolous lawsuit and awarded appropriate attorney fees. On cross-appeal, the appellate court denied the bank’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2012

January 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services
93A02-1107-EX-604
Agency appeal. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and wasn’t entitled to ongoing palliative care. Reeves failed to identify what type of care he should receive and the undisputed evidence does not show that palliative care limits the extent of his impairment.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Long v. State of Indiana
49A02-1105-CR-381
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Because the master commissioner presided at Long’s guilty plea hearing, and not at a criminal trial, she did not have the authority to enter a final judgment on Long’s sentence. Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown did not err by rejecting the master commissioner’s sentence and imposing her own sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2012

January 24, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Antoine Hill v. State of Indiana
45S03-1105-PC-283
Post conviction. Holds that the appropriate standard for judging the performance of Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel is the standard set forth in Baum v. State. Further holds that Post-Conviction Rule 2 counsel in this case did not violate Baum because she represented the defendant in a procedurally fair setting which resulted in a judgment of the court. Justice Sullivan concurs with separate opinion; Justice Rucker dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2012

January 20, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Dept. of Insurance, Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Robin Everhart, Personal Rep. of the Estate of James K. Everhart, Jr.
84S01-1105-CV-282
Civil. Affirms award of statutory maximum of $1 million in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund to Robin Everhart. Does not see any grounds on which to reduce the trial court’s award of $1 million in excess damages, so deciding whether to extend or halt Cahoon’s advance would seem unnecessary at best. The fund was not entitled to a set-off.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2012

January 19, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Chrysler Group, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.A., et al.
93S02-1109-EX-565
Agency appeal. Affirms award of benefits to Chrysler employees offered a buyout. By Chrysler’s own words — to Congress and its own employees — Enhanced Voluntary Termination of Employment Program was part of a company-wide effort intended to avert twenty-nine manufacturing plant closures, twenty-two parts depot closures, and 53,000 layoffs. The board’s conclusion on this issue of ultimate fact was reasonable.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2012

January 18, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
A.T. v. State of Indiana
49S02-1201-JV-26
Juvenile. Reverses trial court’s dispositional order and remands with instructions to vacate that portion of its order committing A.T. to the Department of Correction until his 18th birthday. Because A.T. does not meet the criteria of Indiana Code 31-37-19-9(b), a determinate commitment under that section may not be imposed.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2012

January 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lebamoff Enterprises v. Alex Hurley, in his official capacity as chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
11-1362
Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Civil. Affirms District judge’s grant of summary judgment for the state defendants, ruling against a Fort Wayne area wine retailer’s constitutional challenge to a state law that prevents retailers from shipping wine to consumers via a motor carrier. The appellate panel found that the state statute is not preempted by federal law. Judge David Hamilton issued a separate concurring opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2012

January 13, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kevin Harris v. Warrick County Sheriff’s Department
10-3706
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s entry of summary judgment for the sheriff’s department in a case where a deputy sheriff’s probationary employment was terminated based on violations of standard operating procedures, failure to follow orders and insufficient commitment to the job. Harris’s circumstantial evidence of discrimination falls far short of supporting an inference that he was terminated because of his race.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2012

January 12, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Redmond and Charles Avery Jr.
10-1947, 10-3914
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms denial of Avery’s request to withdraw his guilty plea to crack cocaine distribution, the calculation of the crack cocaine quantity attributed to him and his sentence. Remands for the District Court to reconsider Redmond’s sentence following a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base in light of United States v. Corner.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2012

January 11, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Daniel E. Serban v. State of Indiana
02A03-1106-CR-285
Criminal. Declines to revise Serban’s 11-year sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony corrupt business influence and Class D felony theft. Serban failed to demonstrate his sentence is inappropriate, and his stealing from his clients injured not only them, but also the legal profession.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2012

January 10, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Sarah Haag, Gordon Haag and Cathy Haag; Molly Kruger, William Kruger, III, and Katherine F. Kruger, et al. v. Mark Castro, The Indiana Youth Soccer Association, Virginia Surety Company, Inc., et al.
29S04-1102-CT-118
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Virginia Surety, the insurer of Indiana Youth Soccer Association, in a lawsuit brought by injured players seeking a declaration that the insurer provide coverage for an accident involving a Carmel youth soccer team while they were in Colorado. Because the van in which players were traveling when the accident occurred was not being used in the business of the association – a condition for coverage under the governing association’s business auto-insurance policy at issue – the injured players may not recover. Justice Dickson dissents; Justice David did not participate.
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Opinins Jan. 9, 2012

January 9, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Javon L. Bonner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1107-CR-330
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class A felony dealing in cocaine and convictions for Class C felony operating a vehicle with a lifetime suspension and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2012

January 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Woodson v. State of Indiana
49A05-1106-CR-306
Criminal. Reverses two fraud convictions on grounds that trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress evidence, finding that the evidence was improperly seized after a search without adequate reasonable suspicion.
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Opinions Jan. 5, 2012

January 5, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
John C. Cole, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1102-PC-67
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions Jan. 4, 2012

January 4, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Estate of Florian T. Latek; Nicholas G. Grapsas, et al. v. Gerald Ronneau
64A05-1103-ES-112
Estate, supervised. Affirms denial of Grapsas and Padezan’s challenge to the trial court order denying their motion to dismiss a petition for probate of will and for issuance of letters testamentary filed in the Porter Superior Court and a separate order admitting to probate the last will and testament of Florian Latek. Indiana adheres to the majority rule, and under that rule, the Illinois court’s denial of Latek’s will to probate because it failed to comply with that state’s statutory execution requirements has no effect on the subsequent admission and probate of Latek’s will in Indiana as it concerns the disposition of real property located in Indiana.
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Opinions Jan. 3, 2012

January 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States v. Jason Smith
Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. U.S. Judge Robert Miller, Jr.
11-2016
Criminal. Affirms District Court’s denial of motion to suppress evidence and motion for acquittal for a man convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing crack cocaine with intent to deliver and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. The court rejected arguments that Jason Smith didn’t commit a traffic infraction and that the government constructively amended his indictment about when the traffic stop occurred.
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Opinions Dec. 30, 2011

December 30, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeremy L. Peters v. State of Indiana
43A05-1103-CR-144
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, holding that the use of Peters’ post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence during the state’s case-in-chief was not fundamental error because the evidence of his guilt was strong, the references to his silence were brief, and the references came amidst the narrative explaining the events after the crime.
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Opinions Dec. 29, 2011

December 29, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Economic Freedom Fund, FreeEats.com, Inc., Meridian Pacific, Inc., and John Does 3-10
07S00-1008-MI-411
Miscellaneous. Reverses trial court’s grant of preliminary injunction in favor of FreeEats, holding that the court erred in finding FreeEats had a reasonable likelihood of success on its claim that the live-operator provision of the Indiana Autodialer Law violates Article 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution. Remands for further proceedings. Justice Frank Sullivan dissented, writing that the application of the live-operator requirement in the present case imposes a material burden on political speech in violation of Art. I, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, and that the application of this requirement violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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Opinions Dec. 28, 2011

December 28, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. George Pabey
11-2046
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Criminal. Affirms Pabey’s convictions of conspiring to embezzle government funds and embezzling government funds and sentence of 60 months in prison, along with a $60,000 fine, $14,000 in restitution, and three years of supervised release. The District Court did not abuse its discretion by permitting the jury to receive the conscious avoidance instruction. The sentence enhancements were appropriate and the District Court provided adequate support for its upward departure of his sentence.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2011

December 27, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
ATA Airlines Inc. v. Federal Express Corp.
11-1382, 11-1492
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young
Civil. Reverses $66 million jury award in favor of ATA against FedEx for breach of contract. ATA’s breach of contract claim should never have been permitted to go to trial because the letter agreement between the two parties was not an enforceable contract. In addition, ATA’s expert’s testimony on regression analysis never should have been allowed to be put before a jury.
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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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