Opinions

Opinions June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011


Indiana Court of Appeals
Antwon Abbott v. State of Indiana

34A02-1009-CR-1067
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class B felony possession of cocaine and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the cocaine and marijuana found during the search of Abbott’s person. His argument fails that the statute that elevated his possession crime to a Class B felony is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him.

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Opinions June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Liberty Country Club v. Landowners of Country Club Estates Housing Development
81A01-1007-MI-364
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the landowners of the housing development, concluding that under the terms of the covenant, Liberty is required to provide potable water to the homeowners in the development.
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Opinions June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Harriett Ellis, et al. v. CCA of Tennessee LLC d/b/a Corrections Corporation of America
10-2768
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of CCA of Tennessee on the former jail nurses’ claims of racial discrimination, hostile work environment, and violations of the state whistleblower law. Although the District Court correctly determined there was no genuine issue of material fact related to the plaintiffs’ legal claims, the District Court erred with respect to its claim preclusion ruling. That was a harmless error.
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Opinions June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Edward Johnson v. State of Indiana
53S01-1106-CR-335
Criminal. Johnson failed to establish that his trial counsel was burdened by a conflict of interest sufficient to trigger the Sixth Amendment duty of inquiry under Holloway or Sullivan. Under similar circumstances, though, a judge should do more than simply pass a complaint by a defendant to the public defender’s office.
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Opinions June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael J. Gaby v. State of Indiana
79A02-1006-CR-804
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony child molesting and remands for new trial, stating the trial court erred in permitting the state to refresh the victim’s recollection by allowing her to read a previous statement she made. Holds that retrial will not violate double jeopardy grounds because sufficient evidence exists to support conviction.
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Opinions June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Estate of Verna D. Carter v. Holly F. Szymczak
71A04-1008-CT-472
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict of $125,000 in favor of Szymczak on her negligence complaint against Carter alleging her negligence caused a car accident and injury to Szymczak. Based on the evidence, a reasonable jury could infer that Carter made an unsafe lane change, negligently causing the collision and injury to Szymczak. The trial court did not err in allowing the Permanent Partial Impairment rating evidence to be admitted.

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Opinions June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Maetta Vance v. Ball State University, et al.
08-3568
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s summary judgment for the defendants and dismissal of discrimination lawsuit, stating the plaintiff failed to prove that her treatment at work was in any way affected by her race, and that the plaintiff did not prove that Ball State University was negligent in taking steps to remediate reported harassment.
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Opinions June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larry Ault v. State of Indiana
49A04-1008-CR-492
Criminal. Reverses conviction of felony murder and remands for a new trial. There was sufficient evidence, without Ault’s testimony, to support a jury instruction on self-defense.
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Opinions June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Jeffery Sloan v. State of Indiana
18S04-1009-CR-502
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting. Holds once concealment has been established, statutes of limitations for criminal offenses are tolled under Indiana Code 35-41-4-2(h) until a prosecuting authority becomes aware or should have become aware of sufficient evidence to charge the defendant. Also holds that under the facts of this case, there was no double jeopardy violation because each challenged offense was established by separate and distinct facts. Justices Sullivan and Rucker dissent.
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Opinions May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dennis Block v. Mark Magura
64A05-1012-PL-752
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment for Magura on Block’s lawsuit filed after Magura didn’t complete the purchase of Block’s interest in a partnership. The letter of intent is an enforceable contract because it contains the essential terms of the parties’ agreement and expresses their intent to be bound. Remands for summary judgment in favor of Block as to Magura’s liability for breach of contract and to conduct further proceedings with respect to damages.
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Opinions May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011
In the Matter of the Honorable William J. Hughes, Judge of the Hamilton Superior Court
29S00-1105-JD-279
Judicial discliplinary action. Reprimands Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes, terminating disciplinary proceedings relating to the circumstances giving rise to the cause.
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Opinions May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerry French, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company
18A02-1005-PL-489
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court properly denied summary judgment for both parties on the question of whether the insurance policy terms covered the cost of replacing the Frenches’ manufactured home with a stick-built one. Remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of State Farm on the Frenches’ coverage-by-estoppel claim because there is no dispute that coverage exists; to enter summary judgment for the Frenches on the question of reformation of the policy based on mutual mistake of fact and rescission of the policy based on concealment of material facts by the Frenches. Remands for trial on whether State Farm should be liable for the costs of a stick-built home.
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Opinions May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Estate of Bradley Kinser, et al. v. Indiana Insurance Company
29A02-1009-PL-1093
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Indiana Insurance on its motion for declaratory judgment that it’s not obligated to cover any losses following Bradley Kinser’s accident and death while driving his girlfriend’s car because his policy excluded coverage for a vehicle furnished or available for his regular use. A genuine issue of material fact remains as to the scope and extent that Kinser felt he needed his girlfriend’s permission to drive her car, which affects the determination of whether the car was furnished or available for his regular use.
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Opinions May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
S.W. by P.W. v. B.K.
71A03-1012-PO-655
Protective order. Reverses trial court’s denial of S.W.’s motion to correct error, remands for a hearing on civil contempt petition, and orders S.W. to be reimbursed $250 appellate filing fee. Held that Indiana code states filing fees will not be assessed for a proceeding seeking relief from or enforcement of a civil protective order.
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Opinions, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimmie E. Jones, Jr. v. State of Indiana
29A02-1008-CR-935
Criminal. Affirms conviction for felony murder, stating that the trial court did not err by refusing Jimmie Jones’s tendered instructions on reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, as evidence suggests Jones knowingly and willingly killed the victim.

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Opinions May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Digitech Computer, Inc. v. Trans-Care, Inc.
10-1525 & 10-1652
Civil. Affirms decisions on fraud and breach of contract, but vacates damages awarded and remands for a new calculation of damages and fees in accordance with opinion.
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Opinions May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
James S. Tracy v. Steve Morell, et al.
59A01-1009-PL-488
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s ruling that James Tracy failed to meet his burden of proof on his fraud claim in the sale of a tractor. Reverses court’s ruling that Tracy owed a balance on the promissory note, stating the contract for sale of the tractor is unenforceable because there was a mutual mistake of fact between the parties and the contract violates public policy. Holds that Tracy is entitled to the contract for sale of the tractor and to a money judgment in the amount he has paid on the note together with interest.

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Opinions May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011

Tyrus D. Coleman v. State of Indiana
20S03-1008-CR-458
Criminal. Affirms Coleman’s conviction of and sentence for attempted murder. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t preclude the state from retrying a defendant where in the first trial the jury acquitted him of murder with respect to one person but failed to return a verdict on a charge of attempted murder with respect to another man.

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Opinions May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Citimortgage, Inc. v. Shannon S. Barabas, et al.
48A04-1004-CC-232
Civil collection. Affirms grant of amended default judgment in favor of ReCasa Financial Group and Rick Sanders. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Indiana Code Section 32-29-8-3 precluded Citimortgage’s claim because Citimortgage failed to intervene more than a year after it first acquired interest in the property. When Irwin Mortgage filed a petition and disclaimed its interest in the foreclosure, MERS, as mere nominee and holder of nothing more than bare legal title to the mortgage, did not have an enforceable right under the mortgage separate from the interest held by Irwin Mortgage. Judge Brown dissents.

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Opinions May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Melody D. Linenburg v. Mark A. Linenburg
82A01-1011-DR-625
Domestic relation. Affirms provisional order awarding father primary physical custody of the children and possession of the marital residence during the pendency of the dissolution proceeding. The mother failed to establish an abuse of discretion and the court declines to reweigh the evidence.
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Opinions May 12, 2011

May 12, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
State ex rel. Gregory F. Zoeller v. Aisin USA Manufacturing, Inc.
36S01-1009-CV-469
Civil. Holds the attorney general’s attempt to recover a “tax refund” from Aisin in Jackson Superior Court may proceed. It does not arise under the tax laws because the “refund” was the result of accounting and clerical errors with in the Department of Revenue that were wholly unrelated to any interpretation or application of tax law. Justices Rucker and Dickson dissent.
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Opinions, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bloomfield State Bank v. United States of America
10-3939
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment for the government in the bank’s suit that rent collected on a property in which the bank provided the mortgage should to the bank, not to the IRS to go toward a tax lien. The real estate that generated the rental income at issue in this case existed when the mortgage was issued and thus before the tax lien attached; the rental income was proceeds of that property, which preexisted the tax lien. Remands with directions to enter judgment for the bank.
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Opinions May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011
Cornelius T. Lacey, Sr. v. State of Indiana
02S05-1010-CR-601
Criminal. Affirms denial of Lacey’s motion to suppress. The police did not have to present known supporting facts and obtain an advance judicial authorization for the no-knock entry. Summarily affirms the Indiana Court of Appeals as to all other issues.
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Opinions May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Johnnie Stokes v. State of Indiana
49A04-1009-CR-578
Criminal. Affirms 44-year aggregate sentence for Class B felonies robbery, attempted robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm, and Class C felony criminal recklessness. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in considering Stokes’ 2001 dealing in cocaine conviction and evidence of his extensive criminal record to enhance his sentences for his other present offenses. His sentences also do not violate the double jeopardy clause of the Indiana Constitution.
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Opinions May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jermel C. Thomas
10-3566
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division,
Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Criminal. Dismisses appeal, stating the District Court did not err in enforcing a plea agreement wherein Jermel Thomas had waived his right to appeal his sentence and conviction.
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