Opinions

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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Opinions Oct. 28, 2011

October 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Gillespie, Dawn Gillespie and Rick's Towing and Maintenance, LLC v. Frank B. Niles and Kathryn Niles
49A05-1102-CT-70
Civil tort. Affirms denial of the Gillespies’ objection to the Nileses’ request for a pre-trial conference and refusal to dismiss the action under Indiana Trial Rule 41(E). Affirms grant of summary judgment for the Niles and denial of summary judgment for the Gillespies. The Gillespies failed to wait the required 15 days before selling Kathryn’s vehicle at auction. The trial court erred by granting summary judgment against the Gillespies individually as the judgment should be against Rick’s Towing only.
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Opinions Oct. 27, 2011

October 27, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joey Jennings v. State of Indiana
53A01-1010-CR-541
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. The state presented sufficient evidence to prove that he was the person who damaged another man’s truck. Reverses his sentence of 360 days probation in addition to 180 days in prison with 150 suspended. Jennings’ term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code 35-50-3-1(b) includes not only the 30-day executed portion, but also the suspended term. The trial court sentence caused him to serve more than a year of combined imprisonment and probation, which violates the statute. Remands for the trial court to recalculate his probation, not to exceed 185 days.
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Opinions Oct. 26, 2011

October 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Anthony D. Laster v. State of Indiana
02A03-1103-CR-91
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and four counts of Class B felony robbery, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Laster’s motion for continuance. Remands to the trial court to revise sentence, holding that in light of the offender’s character and nature of offenses, a fully executed sentence on each count is not warranted.
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Opinions Oct. 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marlyn J. Barnes and Melvin B. Taylor
11-1261, 11-1602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms the resentencing of Barnes to 292 months and Taylor to 188 months for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The District Court’s analysis evinces the perception of fair sentencing and reasonableness.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2011

October 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Allen Buchanan v. State of Indiana
82A01-1103-CR-139
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony child molesting, holding that trial court did not err in calculating the amount of credit time to which Buchanan was entitled and did not err in finding the age of the victim as an aggravator.
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Opinions October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James K. White and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Susan Orth, Allen County Treasurer, and Lisbeth A. Blosser, Allen County Auditor

02A03-1101-MI-8
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s decision to overrule Wells Fargo’s objection to the issuance of tax deeds, holding Allen County properly served the tax sale notices upon Wells Fargo. 
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2011

October 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Beth Ann Johnson, Mother of: Emily Johnson, Deceased Minor Child v. Lance Jacobs, Steven J. Cummins, Stacy Cummings, Lawrence County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Tony Newbold, Lawrence Co. Comm.
47A01-1102-CT-35
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for all the defendants in Johnson’s suit for damages in daughter Emily’s wrongful death. Her ex-husband Eric’s intentional criminal acts were a superseding intervening cause between any alleged negligence of the defendants and Emily’s death.
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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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