Opinions

Opinions Nov. 19, 2014

November 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Sharon Handy v. P.C, Building Materials, Inc., PC Properties, LLC, David A. Stemler, and Karen L. Stemler
22A01-1403-CT-125
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of P.C. Building Materials and other defendants on Handy’s negligence claim. There are genuine issues of material fact that remain for a determination by a jury. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2014

November 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of E.P. III and E.P. Jr. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services
15A04-1403-JT-134
Juvenile. Affirms father’s termination of parental rights. Father did not object to the same judge who presided in his Class B felony child molesting and neglect convictions presiding in his termination of parental rights proceedings, therefore the argument first raised on appeal is waived. There also was sufficient evidence to support the termination of parental rights.
 
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2014

November 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Walter Penner Trust Under Agreement Created by the Grantor, Walter Penner on April 13, 2010, Stanley Penner v. Ronald Penner
45A03-1212-TR-516
Trust. Affirms trial court’s denial of Stanley Penner’s Petition for Trustee’s Accounting, for Order to Sell Real Estate, and Related Matters. Also affirmed trial court’s order that Stanley pay $13,166 in attorney fees to the Penner Trust. Remands for the trial court to determine and order Stanley to pay the appellate attorney fees for the trust. Finds Ronald did not breach the trust. The language of the trust is unambiguous and, therefore, overrides the state statutes that require trusts to provide access to an accounting. 
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2014

November 14, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy W. Paul v. Stone Artisans, Ltd.
29A04-1406-PL-258
Civil plenary. Affirms finding that Paul breached his contract with Stone Artisans. Finds that although the contact did not include measurements, the contract is still enforceable because it is reasonably certain in the terms and conditions. Also rules the contract did comply with the Home Improvement Contract Act despite missing two of the required nine elements.
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Opinions Nov. 13, 2014

November 13, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Evelyn Rivera Borrero, et al.

13-3430, 13-3468, 13-3516, 13-3517, 13-3559
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Criminal. Reverses convictions of conspiring to violate 8 U.S.C. Section 1324 (a)(1)(A)(iii) and (iv) by shielding unauthorized aliens from detection and encouraging them to live in the United States; and vacates convictions of conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud. Remands for entry of acquittal on the first count. The government’s legal argument that vehicle tiles and license plates are “property” from the perspective of Indiana is a legal error.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2014

November 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Z. Hayden v. State of Indiana
55A04-1403-CR-116
Criminal. Affirms sufficient evidence to convict Hayden of burglary, theft and residential entry. Remands with instructions to vacate guilty verdict on residential entry as it is a lesser-included offense of burglary and to clarify the entry of judgment as to whether to enter judgment and sentence on the theft conviction or to vacate the jury’s guilty verdict.
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Opinions Nov. 11, 2014

November 11, 2014
All courts are closed Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day.
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2014

November 10, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christa Allen v. Richard Hinchman, M.D.; Richard Tanner, M.D.; and Jeffery Smith, M.D.
49A02-1311-PL-975
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the doctors on Allen’s medical malpractice claim. Holds that the standard of care for doctors practicing in prisons is the same as the standard of care for doctors practicing outside of prison.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2014

November 7, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General and Rick J. Ruble, Commissioner of the In. Dept. of Labor v. James M. Sweeney, David A. Fagan, Charles Severs et. al.
45S00-1309-PL-596
Civil plenary. Reverses finding by Lake Superior Court that I.C. 22-6-6-8 and 22-6-6-10 violate Article I, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution. Any compulsion to provide services does not constitute a demand made by the state. Justice Rucker concurs in result with separate opinion.
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Opinions Nov. 6, 2014

November 6, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Victor Keeylen v. State of Indiana
49A05-1308-CR-419
Criminal. Grants rehearing and affirms original opinion in all respects. Clarifies point from original opinion and still holds that it is unlikely the detective attempted to mislead the judicial officer into issuing the search warrant.
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Opinions Nov. 5, 2014

November 5, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Erie Insurance Exchange v. Troy Sams and Teresa Sams
44A03-1403-CT-97
Civil tort. Affirms judgment ordering Erie Insurance to pay the Samses $63,924.89 for losses they suffered after a storm damaged their home. The trial court did not err in finding the policy covered the storm damage to the home and the judgment amount was not clearly erroneous.
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Opinions Nov. 3, 2014

November 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of D.B.M. and H.B. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services
02A03-1405-JT-171
Juvenile. Affirms trial court’s order to terminate father’s parental rights. Rules the testimony of Allen County Department of Child Services supervisor was cumulative of the other evidence so any error in admitting the testimony was harmless. Also finds the evidence presented at the hearing supports the trial court’s conclusion that the conditions which necessitated the child’s removal from the father’s care would not be remedied.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2014

October 31, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Dwain Neal v. Amanda Lee Austin
49A02-1404-DR-225
Domestic relation. Reverses grant of Austin’s petition for post-secondary education expenses on behalf of her and Neal’s adult child. The trial court did not have authority to issue an order for educational support. Holds that I.C. 31-16-6-6(c) and -6(d) necessitates that where the most recent order establishing a child support obligation was issued after June 30, 2012, the child must file a petition for educational needs before he or she becomes 19 years of age.
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Opinions Oct. 30, 2014

October 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Wayne A. Campbell v. State of Indiana
13S05-1410-PC-682
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief, finding no ineffective assistance by trial counsel for, in part, failing to object to an instruction on the definition of “intentionally.” The second sentence of the contested instruction serves to emphasize the heavy burden placed on the state to prove that a defendant acted intentionally.
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Opinions Oct. 29, 2014

October 29, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marshall G. Welton v. Shani J. Anderson, et al.
13-3336
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Welton’s claims of malicious prosecution, violations of the Fourth and 14th amendments and state law violations. Welton failed to state a predicate constitutional violation in support of his malicious prosecution claim and failed to show the requisite malice.
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Opinions Oct. 28, 2014

October 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Trevor Hinds
13-3543
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms two-level sentencing enhancement for production or trafficking under U.S.S. G. 2B1.1(b)(11)(B)(i). Hinds’ crime involved the production of counterfeit access devices (credit cards) and the court did not err in applying the enhancement. Vacates the two special conditions imposed: that Hinds pay a portion of the court-ordered substance abuse treatment and drug testing and that he submit to suspicionless searches and seizures. The court did not make a finding whether Hinds could pay for the testing, and the government concedes that the search and seizure condition is unlawfully broad and invasive.
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Opinions October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re the Adoption of K.W.: M.W. v. S.L. and T.L.
10A04-1309-AD-469
Adoption. Reverses decree granting S.L. and T.L.’s petition to adopt K.W. The trial court violated father’s due process rights when it failed to rule on his request for appointed counsel. Remands for the trial court to determine whether father, who is incarcerated, is indigent, and if so, to appoint counsel to represent him at a new adoption hearing.
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Opinions Oct. 24, 2014

October 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
219 Kenwood Holdings, LLC v. Properties 2006, LLC
45A03-1401-MI-49
Miscellaneous. Affirms finding that Properties 2006 LLC substantially complied with the requirements of I.C. 6-1.1-25-4.5(e), which requires the purchaser of property sold at a tax sale to notify the owner of record of, among other things, the purchaser’s intent to petition for a tax deed on or after a specified date.
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Opinions Oct. 23, 2013

October 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gabina Hernandez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1403-CR-78
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanors conversion and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.<
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Opinions Oct. 22, 2014

October 22, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Gary Wayne Oswalt v. State of Indiana
35S02-1401-CR-10
Criminal. Oswalt preserved appellate review of three for-cause challenges of prospective jurors, but because the trial court was within its discretion to deny all of them, affirms his convictions. Holds as a matter of first impression that parties satisfy the exhaustion rule the moment they use their final peremptory challenge, regardless of whom they strike. Also holds that if parties fully comply with the exhaustion rule and demonstrate they were unable to remove any prospective juror for lack of peremptories, appellate courts may review denial of any motion to strike for cause, regardless of whether a challenged juror actually served on the jury.
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Opinions Oct. 21, 2014

October 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gary A. Gallien v. State of Indiana
22A01-1402-PC-50
Post-conviction. Reverses denial of post-conviction relief due to defense attorney’s failure to raise the issue of maximum consecutive sentences under I.C. 35-50-1-2. The majority held Gallien was prejudiced by his defender’s failure to raise the issue regarding burglaries that were “closely related in time, place, and circumstance.” Dissenting judge Cale Bradford agreed with the majority’s analysis but would affirm the trial court because he didn’t believe Gallien was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to raise the issue.
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Opinions Oct. 20, 2014

October 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Kenneth Schmitt
13-2894
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Criminal. Affirms conviction for possessing a firearm while being a felon and sentence of 110 months in prison with three years of supervised release. Finds police officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on warrantless searches because the officers were doing a protective sweep to secure the premises when they unlocked the basement door and searched the basement where the AK-15 semi-automatic assault rifle was found. Rules although the District Court erred in admitting evidence of Schmitt’s conviction for possession of methamphetamine, the error was harmless. And concludes District Court did not err in applying a four-level enhancement to Schmitt’s base offense level.
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Opinions Oct. 17, 2014

October 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dominic Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1403-CR-125
Criminal. Affirms convictions for auto theft, a Class C felony, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A felony.
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Opinions Oct. 16, 2014

October 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana State Ethics Commission, Office of Inspector General, and David Thomas, in his Official Capacity as Inspector General v. Patricia Sanchez
49S02-1402-PL-80
Civil plenary. Affirms State Ethics Commission’s decision that Sanchez’s conduct – keeping several items that were state property after she was fired from the Department of Workforce Development – ran afoul of an administrative rule and that she should be barred from future state executive branch employment. Double jeopardy does not bar the proceeding before the commission, the criminal court’s probable cause determination is not binding upon the commission, and there is substantial independent evidence to support the commission’s decision.
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Opinions Oct. 15, 2014

October 15, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Randy M. Swisher v. Porter County Sheriff’s Dept., et al.
13-3602
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein.
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of the defendants on Swisher’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint that he was denied medical care during his nine-month stint in jail. The magistrate judge, while fully crediting the plaintiff’s testimony at an evidentiary hearing, erred in dismissing Swisher’s suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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