Opinions

Opinions May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Donald Leach
10-1786
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms denial of Leach’s motion to dismiss his indictment for knowingly failing to register as a sex offender after traveling in interstate commerce in violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. There is no ex post facto violation of the United States Constitution.
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Opinions May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. David Lee Runyan
10-3400
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Criminal. Affirms 63-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Runyan argued the District Court sentenced him without considering the care he gave his then-terminally ill father, but his argument rested on past caregiving rather than present caregiving and the District Court didn’t need to address it. Also finds the District Court’s commentary at sentencing to not be impermissibly one-sided.
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Opinions April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven A. Coppolillo v. Anthony Cort
45A05-1007-PL-433
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Cort on Coppolillo’s suit for unjust enrichment.  The parties’ contract does not preclude Coppolillo’s claim in equity against Cort. There is a material dispute of fact as to whether Cort was unjustly enriched. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Andrew C. Koons v. United States of America
09-3025
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms denial of Koons’ motion to vacate his guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Koons failed to establish that his trial counsel’s performance was constitutionally deficient.
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Opinions April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Martin Serrano v. State of Indiana and the City of Fort Wayne
02S03-1104-CV-241
Civil. Reverses trial court judgment in favor of the state allowing for the forfeiture of Serrano’s truck. The state concluded he used the truck to transport or facilitate the transportation of a controlled substance for purposes of committing a drug-related offense. There was insufficient evidence to establish by a preponderance that Serrano’s drug possession at the time he was arrested was furthered by the use of his truck or that his truck was used for the purpose of possessing cocaine.
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Opinions April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Wachovia Financial Services, Inc. v. Dune Harbor, LLC, et al.
64A03-1008-MF-415
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment order that a vendor lien was created in favor of and in force for Lefty’s Co-Ho Landing when Wachovia recorded its mortgages, stating that a genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether the lien, if created, was in force. Remands for further proceedings.

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Opinions April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Marcus Curlin
10-3033
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms District Court’s decision to deny motion to suppress, without an evidentiary hearing, stating Marcus Curlin failed to identify any disputed issues of fact that affect the outcome of the motion.
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Opinions April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Garjon Collins
10-2576
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms 108-month sentence following guilty plea to 11 counts of misusing a Social Security number and 11 counts of aggravated identity theft. The District Court properly considered the Section 3553(a) sentencing factors and imposed an appropriate, reasonable sentence in this case.
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Opinions April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Tom George, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
94S00-1010-CQ-544
Certified question. The NCAA’s ticket-allocation process for championship sporting events – only refunding the face value and not a handling fee to unsuccessful applicants – is not an illegal lottery under Indiana law because no prize was awarded to those applicants who received the opportunity to purchase tickets. Where an event coordinator creates the primary market for event tickets, the fair-market value of the tickets is equal to their face value and there is no “prize.” 
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Opinions April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ricky E. Graham v. State of Indiana
22A01-1008-PC-392
Post conviction. Grants rehearing to clarify comments made regarding the creation and preservation of evidentiary records in post-conviction relief proceedings and affirms original opinion in all respects.
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Opinions April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael K. Wethington v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1009-CR-481
Criminal. Affirms conviction of operating a motor vehicle while an habitual traffic violator.
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Opinions April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Stewart v. State of Indiana
49A04-1001-CR-48
Criminal. Vacates Class C felony robbery conviction and corresponding four-year sentence because Stewart’s convictions for both felony murder and the underlying felony of robbery violate the prohibitions of double jeopardy. Finds there was sufficient evidence to support Stewart’s convictions of seven counts of felony murder, six counts of criminal confinement as Class B felonies, Class B felony burglary, Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, and adjudication as a habitual offender. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain hearsay statements or by admitting certain photographs, and Stewart isn’t entitled to the procedural protections of the Life Without Parole Statute. Judge Bradford concurs in part and concurs in result in part.
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Opinions April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011
Heather Schrock v. Marion Schrock
20A03-1009-DR-484
Domestic relation. Vacates trial court’s belated order because it was made void by the instant appeal. Marion is able to proceed by cross-appeal to obtain appellate review of the issues raised in his motion to correct error as set forth in a footnote in Cavinder Elevators and in HomeEq. Reverses in part the dissolution order.
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Opinions April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane Werner v. Gregory Werner

46A03-1008-DR-447
Domestic relation. Affirms order finding it would be in the children’s best interest for their father to be their primary physical custodian and awarding mother parenting time. Diane Werner waived her argument that the court used the wrong standard in determining whether to modify custody because she didn’t object at the custody hearing. The trial court’s findings are sufficient to support its judgment under the “best interests” standard. Judge Kirsch dissents.
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Opinions April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Douglas M. Grimes v. Victoria Crockrom, et al.
45A03-1008-CT-491
Civil tort. Affirms order that Grimes, Crockrom’s former attorney, produce Crockrom’s medical records he obtained while he was representing her. The trial court erred when it did so without first providing for the security of the attorney fees owed. Grimes has a valid retaining lien over Crockrom’s medical records. Remands with instructions that the court determine how much in attorney fees Grimes is owed and then order Crockrom to provide security for the payment of those fees.
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Opinions April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cassandra Johnson and Jarrett Buse v. Anya E. Wait, et al.
82A01-0910-CV-498
Civil. Affirms the jury instruction on contributory negligence, finding sufficient evidence to support giving it. The trial court didn’t err by refusing to give the tendered instruction on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur offered by Johnson and Buse because there is a dearth of evidence as to exactly how and when Johnson’s shoulder injuries occurred. Affirms trial court allowance of a defense orthopedic expert witness to testify as to his opinions on causation.
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Opinions April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Randall Woodruff, trustee, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, on behalf of Legacy Healthcare Inc. v. Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning
29A02-1002-PL-220
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the Family and Social Services Administration on New Horizon Development Center’s $4 million quantum meruit claim. Once a provider with a long-term care facility has been voluntarily or involuntarily terminated, FSSA, as the state Medicaid agency, has the primary responsibility for relocating the Medicaid patients and for ensuring their safe and orderly transfer from the old facility.
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Opinions April 8, 2011

April 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Samuel D. Raisor, et al. v. Edward O. Carter, et al.
49A05-1010-CT-629
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Jimmie’s Raceway Pub, in which the trial court  found the Raisors’ action was barred by the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions and the amended complaint couldn’t relate back to the original filing date because Jimmie’s received notice of the action after the expiration of the 120-day period allowed under Ind. Trial Rule 15(C).
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Opinions April 7, 2011

April 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jeffrey P. Taylor
10-2715
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Moody.
Criminal. Reverses conviction of and 10-year sentence for violating 18 U.S.C. Section 2422(b), which deals with knowingly persuading or enticing someone under 18 to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so. The section is ambiguous and sexual activity and sexual act could be synonyms and therefore require contact between the perpetrator and victim for a conviction. Remands with instructions to acquit Taylor. Judge Manion concurs in a separate opinion.
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Opinions April 6, 2011

April 6, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gariup Construction Co. v. Carras-Szany-Kuhn & Associates, et al.
45A04-1007-PL-429
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the architect Carras-Szany-Kuhn and the successful bidder and denied unsuccessful bidder Gariup Construction’s claim alleging the architect; Behling & Son, the successful bidder; and others colluded to restrict bidding in violation of the Indiana Antitrust Act. The designated evidence doesn’t present a genuine issue of material fact from which a factfinder could reasonably infer that the architect and successful bidder colluded to restrict bidding. Declines to find that the architect and successful bidder are entitled to appellate attorneys fees.
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Opinions April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Stephen Radentz, et al., v. Marion County, et al.
10-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses ruling from District Court in favor of defendants in discrimination lawsuit. Plaintiffs were able to support claim that their termination from employment was race-based, and did not result in significant financial gain, as the defendants claimed.
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Opinions April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Billy L. Hicks
09-3608
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Vacates conviction of knowingly distributing more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. The District Court improperly allowed evidence of Hicks' prior drug convictions in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Remands for a new trial.

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Opinions April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hochstetler Living Trust v. Friends of Pumpkinville Nature Trail
20A03-1009-PL-490
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s partial summary judgment in favor of Friends of Pumpkinville Nature Trail, which quieted title to a disputed tract in favor of the nature trail. Because the Plank Deed from 1899 conveyed a fee simple interest to the railroad company, the Penn Central quitclaim deed conveyed that fee simple interest to the nature trail.
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Opinions March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Antonio D. Jones v. James Basinger
09-3577
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Remands with instructions to grant writ of habeas petition. Reverses District Court's affirmation that Jones was not entitled to a habeas petition, citing U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Washington. States that informant’s double-hearsay against Jones was used as substantive evidence to prove Jones’ guilt, violating his Sixth Amendment rights.
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Opinions March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tywan D. Griffin v. State of Indiana
49A02-1007-CR-774
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, ruling the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Griffin committed the charge.
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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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