Opinions

Opinions Oct. 9, 2014

October 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stacey D. Cox v. State of Indiana
29A05-1312-CR-637
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony involuntary manslaughter and Class B misdemeanor operating a child care home without a license. The state presented sufficient evidence that Cox operated a child care home under I.C. 12-17.2-5-28.6.
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Opinions Oct. 8, 2014

October 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney A. Richard v. State of Indiana
46A05-1312-CR-628
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public park, but reverses Class A felony conviction of dealing in cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. The state did not offer sufficient evidence to prove he committed dealing within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. Remands for the trial court to enter a conviction as a Class B felony and resentence him on that count.
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Opinions Oct. 7, 2014

October 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Evansville Courier & Press and Rita Ward v. Vanderburgh County Health Department
82S04-1401-PL-49
Civil plenary. Reverses determination by trial court and finds death certificates which include the cause of death are public records. Holds a plain reading of the state statute denies public viewing of death information at the Indiana State Department of Health but gives private citizens access to death records at the local county health department. Remands for summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor and to determine award of attorney fees.
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Opinions Oct. 6, 2014

October 6, 2014
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Opinions Oct. 3, 2014

October 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eve Carson v. Stacy Palombo
49A02-1312-PL-1052
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Palombo on Carson’s claims of defamation per se, defamation per quod and invasion of privacy by false light based upon Palombo’s comments regarding a YouTube video Carson posted criticizing the investigation of her sister-in-law’s decades-old murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Carson’s motion to amend her complaint to include facts she knew but omitted at the time her original complaint was filed to defeat a grant of summary judgment in Palombo’s favor. There is no genuine issue of material fact that Carson’s claimed damages were incurred as a consequence of alleged defamatory statements, and in the light of other videos Carson posted on YouTube, she was cast in essentially the same light as Palombo’s comment.
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Opinions Oct. 2, 2014

October 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Campbell v. State of Indiana
89A04-1312-CR-634
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the order granting the state’s motion to withdraw from guilty plea. By refusing to testify at his co-defendant’s trial, Campbell failed to tender the consideration specifically contemplated in the plea agreement. Thus, it would deprive the state of its end of the bargain to sentence Campbell in accordance with a contract that he did not fully satisfy.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2014

October 1, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Corbin v. State of Indiana
75S03-1401-CR-13
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of a motion to dismiss a charge of attempted child seduction and remands for further proceedings. Whether Corbin’s Facebook communications propositioning a 16-year-old student for sex constituted the required substantial step toward the crime is a question not ripe for dismissal on interlocutory appeal. Justices found the charges match the statutory elements sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss at this time.
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2014

September 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Irene Harper
49A04-1307-PL-316
Civil plenary. Denies transfer to Zavodink’s appeal of the dismissal of his appeal for failure to file a timely brief and appendix. Offers guidance to courts on how to deal with prolific, abusive litigants.
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Opinions Sept. 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan L. Good v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA.
20A03-1401-MF-14
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo and the subsequent judgment of foreclosure. The bank has not shown its status as holder of the promissory note signed by Good for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2014

September 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shacare Terry v. Community Health Network, Inc.
49A04-1312-PL-630
Civil plenary.  Affirms dismissal of Terry’s claim of breach of duty against Community Hospital, but reverses dismissal of intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The breach of duty claim is, in substance, a medical malpractice claim, so the court did not have jurisdiction because it had not been submitted to the medical review panel yet. The trial court had subject matter over Terry’s emotional distress claim.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2014

September 25, 2014
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Scott Logan v. State of Indiana
20S05-1405-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony child molesting and six-year sentence. Although the trial court technically complied with Criminal Rule 4(C), Logan’s 1,291-day delay between the filing of the charge and the beginning of his trial violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Orders Logan released from incarceration and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Albert L. Hauck and Mark Wood v. City of Indianapolis
49A04-1403-PL-136
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis on Hauck’s and Wood’s complaint regarding the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s failure to promote them to captain. The word “endeavor” as used in the ordinance means to “attempt to,” and the plaintiffs failed to show the city did not maintain proportional representation of former Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Indianapolis Police Department officers throughout the divisions and appointed ranks of IMPD as contemplated by the revised code.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2014

September 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Branham Corporation v. Newland Resources, LLC; Samuel Sutphin; White River Funding Corp.; et al; Thomas N. Eckerle; Thomas N. Eckerle Prof. Corp. v. The Branham Corporation
06A05-1311-CT-572
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court’s summary judgment order in favor of the defendants. Reverses the order dismissing attorney Thomas Eckerle without prejudice and remands for entry of summary judgment in favor of Eckerle. Finds the trial court correctly determined the defendants were entitled to summary judgment because Branham filed its complaint for nonpayment of damages after the two-year statute of limitations had run.
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Opinions Sept. 22, 2014

September 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Trezanay M. Atkins
49S00-1306-DI-435.
Attorney discipline. Suspends Atkins for two years without automatic reinstatement, finding she violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
 
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2014

September 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
City of Mitchell v. Randy Phelix
47A01-1402-PL-88
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of its complaint for a declaratory judgment related to former Mitchell city policeman Randy Phelix’s claim for medical expenses due to disabilities resulting from dismantling methamphetamine labs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred when it ruled that Phelix was entitled to have the city pay his medical bills under I.C. 36-8-4-5 despite the worker’s compensation carrier’s denial of his claim.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Frank Greene
49S02-1403-PC-172
Post conviction. Reverses grant of post-conviction relief, which would have reduced Greene’s Class B felony criminal confinement conviction to a Class D felony. Greene did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel due to his attorneys’ failure to present allegedly controlling precedent from this court. Greene mischaracterizes the application of Long v. State.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2014

September 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert P. Benavides v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1405-PC-318
Post conviction. Affirms dismissal of petition for writ of state habeas corpus.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2014

September 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Willie Jenkins v. Mary Jenkins
49A02-1403-DR-132
Domestic relation. Reverses grant of Mary Jenkins’ motion to vacate a contempt hearing. It was not in the interests of justice for the trial court to ignore its rule of allowing 15 days to respond and granting her motion prior to allowing Willie Jenkins time for response. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 15, 2014

September 15, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeremiah Lee Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
21A01-1405-CR-192
Criminal.  Affirms revocation of probation.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2014

September 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Marriage of Tina M. Harpenau v. Robin P. Harpenau
62A01-1401-DR-37
Domestic relation.  Affirms grant of father’s petition to modify, awarding him primary physical custody of the children and granting mother the same parenting time as father originally had, as well as that mother pay child support. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying custody due to her proposed move or in modifying child support accordingly.
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Opinions Sept. 11, 2014

September 11, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Choice Management Services Inc., et al; CRM Energy Partners and John W. Hannah v. Joseph D. Bradley, Receiver
14-1270, 14-2284
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of CRM’s motion to intervene in the sale of an oil and gas lease in order to compensate victims of fraud. Dismisses its appeal of the District Court’s approval of the sale. CRM waited too long to intervene in the action.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2014

September 10, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Barbara J. Pohl v. Michael G. Pohl
32S04-1404-DR-245
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court and remands with instructions to apply the incapacity maintenance statute’s “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” standard to the evidence presented at the modification hearing. Any maintenance provision in a settlement agreement, regardless of its grounds, is modifiable only if the agreement so provides. The agreement in this matter contains such a provision.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2014

September 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert O. Hedrick v. Angela R. Gilbert
47A01-1401-DR-1
Domestic relation. Affirmed in part, reversed in part. Affirms denial of Hedrick’s motion to modify support for post-secondary educational expenses and affirms order of contempt and $500 fine issued to Hedrick for failing to abide by prior court rulings. Reverses the award to Gilbert of $1,000 in attorney fees as part of the contempt order, ruling that the trial court did not make findings that Hedrick’s petition to modify was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless.
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Opinions Sept. 8, 2014

September 8, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Inc., Save the Valley, Inc., Sierra Club, and Valley Watch, Inc. v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
93A02-1305-EX-394
Agency action. Remands to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission its order approving Duke’s request to include power plant construction costs of the Edwardsport coal-gasification plant from Oct. 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012, in a rate adjustment rider. Remands for findings as to whether a delay was chargeable to Duke and, if so, what impact the delay had on Duke’s customers’ rates. Also remands for a clear statement of the policy and evidentiary considerations underlying IURC’s determination that 50 percent of the plant was deemed in-service.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2014

September 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marilyn Rae Baskin v. Penny Bogan
14-2386
Midori Fujii v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health
14-2387
Pamela Lee v. Brian Abbott
14-2388
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young
Civil. Affirms District Court judgment invalidating and enjoining Indiana and Wisconsin prohibitions on same-sex marriage. The 7th Circuit consolidated the three same-sex marriage cases from Indiana into one opinion with the single case from Wisconsin, Wolf et al. v. Walker, et al., 14:2526. The court confined its ruling to the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and did not address the plaintiffs’ due process arguments. Rejects Indiana’s responsible procreation argument, finding Indiana’s prohibition on same-sex marriage discriminates against gays and lesbians.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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