Opinions Jan. 28, 2015

January 28, 2015
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday
United States of America v. Jeffrey P. Taylor
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction. Finds double jeopardy does not bar his retrial on the charges of attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor using means of interstate commerce after his conviction of attempting to use facilities of interstate commerce to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor was overturned because the charges require proof of different elements. And because the judgment does not incorporate the SORNA ruling and the government has not filed a cross-appeal contesting that, there is nothing for the 7th Circuit to review on this issue. Affirms in all other respects.

Opinions Jan. 27, 2015

January 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Tiplick v. State of Indiana
Criminal. On interlocutory appeal, reverses denial of Tiplick’s motion to dismiss 11 of the 18 counts in an indictment against him alleging Class C felony charges of dealing in a lookalike substance and Class D felony possession of or dealing in a synthetic drug commonly referred to as spice. A divided panel held the statutes governing synthetic drug charges are unconstitutionally vague based on the definition of “synthetic drug” in I.C. § 35-31.5-2-321(9). Writing Judge Melissa May and concurring Judge James Kirsch held the trial court erred in failing to dismiss charges based on possession of a substance specified as a synthetic drug by a pharmacy board emergency rule but not specifically by statute. Dissenting Judge L. Mark Bailey would affirm the trial court, writing that laws and regulations were not so complex or overly broad as to preclude a person of ordinary intelligence from having notice of the criminal nature of the sale of XLR11 on the basis of vagueness. 

Opinions Jan. 26, 2015

January 26, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curt Pearman d/b/a Greenwood Professional Park v. T. Ryan Jackson and Kristin M. Jackson
Civil collection. Affirms granting of partial summary judgment in favor of the Jacksons. Finds the Jacksons did not breach the terms of their lease agreement when they moved from their office five months after their initial three-year lease expired. Ruled the “clear and unambiguous terms of the lease agreement” allowed the Jacksons to continue to occupy the space on a monthly basis without having to sign another three-year lease.

Opinions Jan. 23, 2015

January 23, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Visteon Corp. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chief Judge Richard Young, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
Affirms judgment in favor of National Union on its denial of coverage for toxic chemical pollution at a Connersville Visteon auto parts factory that also contaminated neighboring properties. The District Court properly applied Michigan law, holding that Visteon was not entitled to coverage and dismissed the case. 

Opinions Jan. 22, 2015

January 22, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Young v. Hood's Gardens, Inc.
Civil plenary.  Reverses summary judgment in favor of Hood’s Gardens that it had no secondary liability to pay workers’ compensation benefits to Jason Young, who was severely injured while removing a tree from Hood’s Gardens’ property. The "value" that triggers secondary liability under Indiana Code 22-3-2-14(b) may include the value of other property transferred in connection with the performance of services and the designated evidence shows that the contract Hood’s Gardens entered into with the tree removal company may have been more than $1,000 once the value of firewood is considered.

Opinions Jan. 21, 2015

January 21, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Sandra Elaine Lappin v. Anthony Alex Timmerman (NFP)
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Timmerman on his motion to dismiss Lappin’s complaint that he not be allowed to participate in an HVAC business in violation of the parties’ covenant not to compete. Remands for further proceedings.

Opinions Jan. 20, 2015

January 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeri Good v. Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund
Miscellaneous. Affirms determination that Good was entitled to only six months of retroactive benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System instead of a full year as Good sought. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to six months of retroactive retirement benefits. Rejects Good’s claims that she is entitled to additional retroactive benefits based on the theories of equitable estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.

Opinions Jan. 19, 2015

January 19, 2015
The state and federal courts are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Opinions Jan. 16, 2015

January 16, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jeffrey A. Cleary v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms multiple convictions and a 14-year sentence in a fatal drunken-driving crash imposed when Cleary was retried after a first jury deadlocked on greater criminal charges and convicted Cleary on misdemeanor and infraction counts. Justices found no statutory or constitutional double-jeopardy violations.

Opinions Jan. 15, 2014

January 15, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Paul Brown v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft. Finds trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to a portion of Brown’s videotaped interview with a detective as hearsay and for not tendering a jury instruction on criminal conversion as a lesser-included offense.

Opinions Jan. 14, 2015

January 14, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Dwan Rashid Taylor
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress drugs and guns found by police in Taylor’s storage locker pursuant to a search warrant. The police learned of the storage location using a GPS unit that it attached to Taylor’s car without a warrant in 2011, a year before the Supreme Court of the United States held that attaching a GPS device to a car for purposes of gathering information was a search under the Fourth Amendment. Because the officers used the GPS monitor in objectively reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent in effect at that time, the suppression motion was properly denied.

Opinions Jan. 13, 2015

January 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel, P.C. v. Adpoint, Inc., Joel Hall, and Mary Hall
Collections. Affirms trial court denial of Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel’s motion for summary judgment and reverses the grant of Adpoint’s motion for summary judgment and order that the amount of legal fees owed by Adpoint to the law firm was $11,085.50. The court erred in granting summary judgment to Adpoint based on res judicata and collateral estoppel. Remands to the trial court to determine the amount Adpoint owes TBV for its representation in underlying litigation.

Opinions Jan. 12, 2015

January 12, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Anderson, Comm., Joe Wray, Comm., and Board of Trustees, Brown Co. Fire. Prot. Dist. v. Susanne Gaudin, Janet Kramer, And Ruth Reichmann
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court order invalidating the Brown County commissioners’ amendment of an ordinance creating a countywide fire district. In creating the district, the commissioners expressly granted it and its board of trustees the powers and authority enumerated in the ordinance, thereby relinquishing power to amend the ordinance.

Opinions Jan. 9, 2015

January 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Sheckles v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and adjudication of Sheckles as a habitual substance offender. Sheckles was not deprived of his right to a speedy trial under Criminal Rule 4(C), the trial court did not err when it denied Sheckles’ request for disclosure of a confidential informant’s identity, nor were Sheckles’ confrontation rights violated. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted into evidence a police video recording of the controlled buy.

Opinions Jan. 8, 2015

January 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Daniel P. Minnick v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses judgment of the District Court upholding the acting commissioner’s decision to deny benefits to Minnick and remands for further proceedings. The administrative law judge did not fully develop the record before drawing any conclusions and did not adequately articulate her analysis so that the appellate court could follow her reasoning.

Opinions Jan. 7, 2015

January 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Mental Health Proceedings of B.M. v. Indiana University Health Hospital
Mental health. Affirms order involuntarily committing B.M. to a mental health facility. The trial court’s finding that B.M. is a danger to others is supported by sufficient evidence. Judge Riley dissents with opinion.

Opinions Jan. 6, 2015

January 6, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, Inc. v. Elizabeth Bridgewater o/b/o Alyssa Bridgewater
Civil. Vacates the final order from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission regarding a dispute over a dinner menu. The commission had found that the Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society Inc. did not discriminate against Bridgewater when it did not provide a special meal for her daughter who suffered from food allergies. However, the commission did rule that FACES did commit an unlawful discriminatory practice when it expelled the Bridgewater family from the group after they filed the disability discrimination complaint. The Supreme Court concluded because the activities of FACES fell outside education, the commission lacked the statutory authority to take any action other than the dismissal of these claims. Remands with instructions to grant the motion to dismiss filed by FACES on both claims. Justice Robert Rucker dissented, maintaining the commission does have the authority to act on the retaliation claim.

Opinions Jan. 5, 2015

January 5, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
State Farm Life Insurance Co. v. Troy Jonas et al.
Civil tort. Vacates judgment of District Court and remands with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Finds no justiciable controversy existed when Jonas filed his lawsuit against State Farm. Concluded that the disputes about the rate of interest and whether the insurance company must pay the attorney fees that Jonas has incurred in this litigation do not retroactively create jurisdiction.

Opinions Dec. 31, 2014

December 31, 2014
Indiana Court Appeals
Alfredo D. Rodriguez, as Permanent Guardian of the Person and Estate of Miriam Rodriguez, and Alfredo D. Rodriguez, Individually v. United States Steel Corporation
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of U.S. Steel on Alfredo Rodriguez’s negligence claim. Miriam Rodriguez was injured in an auto accident caused by an employee of U.S. Steel as he drove home from work. U.S. Steel did not owe Miriam Rodriguez a duty of reasonable care.

Opinions Dec. 30, 2014

December 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Hewitt v. Westfield Washington School Corp; Board of School Trusties of Westfield Washington School Corp. et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of Westfield Washington School Corp. and related defendants, holding they had not met the onerous burden of showing there are no issues of material fact entitling them to judgment as a matter of law. Hewitt, a former school principal, was fired for a sexual relationship with a teacher he supervised. He then sued the school system for breach of contract and denial of due process. His suit is remanded for further proceedings.

Opinions Dec. 29, 2014

December 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles P. White v. State of Indiana

Post conviction. Affirms White’s convictions for perjury, voting in the wrong precinct and theft. Finds White was convicted twice for the same actions in violation of double jeopardy. Reverses White’s other convictions for perjury and voting in the wrong precinct as well as another perjury conviction for putting the wrong address on his marriage license application. Remands with instructions that the trial court vacate those three convictions. Concludes White’s attorney, Carl Brizzi, was not ineffective. Holds White’s sentence to one-year of home detention remains.

Opinions Dec. 24, 2014

December 24, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lloyd G. Perry v. Anonymous Physican 1, Alias Medical Group 1, Inc., Anonymous Physican 2, et al.
Civil Tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers. Finds Perry did not submit expert testimony as required by court rules to support his medical malpractice claim.  

Opinions Dec. 23, 2014

December 23, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re the Adoption of B.C.H.
Adoption. Vacates the trial court’s decision to grant stepfather’s petition to adopt B.C.H. and remands for a hearing on the child’s best interests in the adoption and other proceedings consistent with this opinion. At this hearing, the grandparents, who had primary custody of B.C.H. for the first four years of her life, shall be given the opportunity to give or withhold consent to the child’s adoption. They were not served with legal notice of the adoption.

Opinions Dec. 22, 2014

December 22, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Milford J. Clark
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms conviction for bank robbery. Clark was not deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to proceed pro se. Any errors in admission of evidence were harmless since Clark met the physical description of the robber and his DNA was found at the bank.

Opinions Dec. 19, 2014

December 19, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christopher Duncan v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of identity deception because the state did not prove that the name and birth date Duncan falsely gave to police belonged to a real person. Remands with instructions to vacate that conviction and sentence as well as the conviction and sentence for Class D felony pointing a firearm because of double jeopardy principles. Also remands for the court to reduce his resisting law enforcement conviction to a Class A misdemeanor due to double jeopardy principles.
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