Opinions

Opinions Dec. 20, 2010

December 20, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bruce R. Smith v. Morgan L. Smith
02A03-1005-DR-276
Domestic relation. Reverses division of marital property. The trial court abused its discretion by awarding Morgan more than 100 percent of the marital estate. Remands for a just and reasonable division of the marital estate not exceeding the net value of the estate.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2010

December 17, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Karl Schmidt Unisia Inc. v. International Union, United Automobile, et al.
09-4001
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of International Union, et al., on their counterclaim to compel arbitration. The collective bargaining agreement’s arbitration clause creates a presumption that the union’s grievance is arbitrable.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2010

December 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Hurst v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-378
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence obtained upon the execution of a search warrant. To the extent the trial court concluded that Eric Thomas was inherently credible simply because he was a cooperating citizen informant, the trial court erred. A texted photo to Thomas corroborated the hearsay and there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2010

December 15, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
Joshua G. Nicoson v. State of Indiana
32S04-1003-CR-150
Criminal. Affirms five-year sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm following Nicoson's convictions of criminal confinement with a deadly weapon as a Class B felony. Holds that adding these years is consistent both with the statutes in question and with the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2010

December 14, 2010

Indiana Court of Appeals
Presbytery of Ohio Valley, Inc., et al. v. OPC, Inc., et al.
82A02-1003-MF-339
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment in favor of appellees-defendants OPC Inc. and others in a property dispute between a local congregation and the national church. When the neutral principles of law approach is applied correctly, the appellants prevail. Remands with instructions.

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Opinions Dec. 13, 2010

December 13, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Involuntary Commitment of G.M.
33A01-1006-MH-325
Mental health. Holds that the committing court’s conclusion for the basis of its order to commit G.M.  – that he was incapable of providing himself food, clothing, shelter, or other essential human needs - wasn’t supported by the evidence. G.M. may be determined to be gravely disabled under another definition set forth in statute. Remands for a review of G.M.’s care and treatment.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2010

December 10, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Snowberger v. State of Indiana
09A02-1005-CR-570
Criminal. Reverses revocation of probation. Snowberger’s plea agreement to nonsupport of a dependent child required the state to show his failure to pay child support to be willful and he has the ability to make payments before his probation could be revoked. The evidence was insufficient to support the revocation.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2010

December 9, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Order corrects sentence in original opinion from Nov. 29, 2010.
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Opinions, Dec. 8, 2010

December 8, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Forman v. Wayne Penn, et al.
33A01-1007-CT-343
Civil tort. Dismisses appeal because it isn’t certified for interlocutory appeal or authorized as an appeal from a final judgment pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule 54(B).
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2010

December 7, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
M.S. v. C.S.
03A01-1003-DR-140
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order to vacate a previous order granting M.S. joint legal custody of and parenting time with S.S., a child born to C.S., M.S.’s former domestic partner of more than 10 years. M.S. appealed and raised three issues: whether the trial court erred in vacating its prior custody and visitation order; whether the trial court abused its discretion by modifying custody of S.S. without a petition to modify or a showing of a substantial change in circumstances; and whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying M.S. parenting time.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Brian D. Grigsby v. Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Department of Transportation in his suit claiming he wasn’t hired because of his Native American heritage. Grigsby was not qualified for any of the positions he applied for.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2010

December 3, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marion County Auditor & McCord Investments v. Sawmill Creek
49A02-0912-CV-1192
Civil. Affirms order granting motion filed by Sawmill Creek to set aside a tax deed the auditor issued to McCord Investments. Follows the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones to agree with the trial court that the owner of the lot, Sawmill Creek, wasn’t provided constitutionally adequate notice of the tax sale.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2010

December 2, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Juan A. Corona-Gonzalez a/k/a Juan R. Ramirez
09-3993
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Reverses sentence for drug convictions and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. There is a substantial chance that the District Court’s misapprehension of whether Corona-Gonzalez was deported and returned to the country illegally played a significant role in the adjudication of his sentence. Remands to allow the District Court to reassess the sentence free of the factual misapprehension.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2010

December 1, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
William R.D. Britt v. State of Indiana
02A03-1004-CR-253
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony robbery, Class D felony criminal recklessness, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. The trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in refusing to allow Britt’s counsel to introduce evidence of his brother Brandon’s prior robbery conviction.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2010

November 30, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert J. Hall v. State of Indiana
06A05-1003-CR-187
Criminal. Reverses conviction of operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic offender as a Class D felony. The trial court committed fundamental error in its instruction on the mens rea element of the Habitual Traffic Violator Statute. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions Nov. 29, 2010

November 29, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
American Bank v. City of Menasha, et al.
10-1963
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Reverses judgment granting a stay requested by Menasha to give American Bank certain records available pursuant to Wisconsin’s Public Records Law. The bank, a plaintiff in a class-action suit charging the city violated federal securities law, requested the documents after the suit was filed. The stay is not a stay of a discovery order and can only be an injunction; only a stay of discovery is authorized by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.
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Opinions Nov. 24, 2010

November 24, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Samuel Neal, Delores Neal and Hometown Transmissions, Inc. v. William J. Cure, et al.
49A04-0908-CV-468
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for the Cures on the Neals’ claims of environmental contamination under the Environmental Legal Act, nuisance, trespass, and negligence. The designated evidence does not, in light of the Cures' lack of involvement in or knowledge of Masterwear’s actions, give rise to a genuine issue of material fact regarding the Cures' liability for nuisance, trespass, negligence, or an ELA violation.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2010

November 23, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC
10-2327
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Affirms the judgment of the District Court that granted Anodyne’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $72,747. The award was based on 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), which allows attorneys’ fees to be awarded to prevailing parties in Lanham Act suits, but only in “exceptional cases.” Nightingale contended no award of attorneys’ fees was justified because the case was not “exceptional.” Also grants Anodyne’s motion for fees and costs pursuant to Rule 38 of the appellate rules. Dismisses as moot Anodyne’s motion to strike Nightingale’s brief and appendix.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2010

November 22, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Levie S. Jackson v. State of Indiana
79A02-0912-CR-1230
Criminal. Affirms convictions of seven counts of Class C felony forgery, six counts of Class D felony theft, and finding Jackson is a habitual offender The trial court did not err in denying Jackson’s motion to sever. Because he did not present any explanation of how he was prejudiced by the timing of the additional charge, the trial court declined to reverse the habitual offender enhancement.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2010

November 19, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Florence R. Lacy-McKinney v. Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp.
71A03-0912-CV-587
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. on its action to foreclose on Lacy-McKinney’s mortgage that was insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Views the affirmative defense of noncompliance with HUD regulations as the failure of the mortgagee to satisfy a HUD-imposed condition precedent to foreclosure. To hold otherwise would circumvent the public policy of HUD. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2010

November 18, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David N. Rain and Paramount International Inc. v. Rolls-Royce Corp.
10-1290
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms partial summary judgment in favor of Rolls-Royce on Rain’s claim for breach of contract by breaching a non-disparagement provision in a settlement agreement after Rolls-Royce filed a Texas lawsuit involving Rain and Paramount. Affirms the judgment following a bench trial on breach of contract in favor of Rolls-Royce after Rolls-Royce asked Rain to leave an event.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2010

November 17, 2010

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Rosalio Cruz-Rea and Zoyla Garcia-Rea
09-3591, 10-1355
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences of Cruz-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, and convictions of and sentences for Garcia-Rea for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The government didn’t abuse its discretion in determining that the government laid sufficient foundation for an officer’s voice identification testimony under Fed. Evid. Rule 901(b)(5). Affirms in all other respects.

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Opinions Nov. 16, 2010

November 16, 2010
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin L. Hampton v. State of Indiana
84A04-1002-PC-122
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. There was no error in omitting the requested sentence and appellate counsel did not fail to provide effective assistance.
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Opinions Nov. 15, 2010

November 15, 2010
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lorenzo Tavarez
09-3879
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of distributing 50 grams or more methamphetamine. Tavarez failed to show that the confidential informant was available only to the government. The District Court therefore did not err by refusing the missing witness instruction. Concludes that the jury could reasonably reach its guilty verdict on the circumstantial evidence presented here.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2010

November 12, 2010
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of William J. Rawls
49S00-0908-DI-355
Discipline. Disbars Rawls for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.16(d), 8.1(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c). Rawls has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients' cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client's driver's license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

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