Opinions

Opinions Dec. 4, 2013

December 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Deeter v. Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
43A04-1305-PL-229
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. regarding Rick Deeter’s claim for insurance proceeds. Determines that when an insurance company has included an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss that results from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will respect the parties’ right to contract and enforce that exclusion. The undisputed designated evidence shows that Callie Deeter purposefully and intentionally burnt down her home, and Farmers was within the scope of its contractual rights to deny the Deeters’ insurance claim in accordance with the intentional loss exclusion contained in the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2013

December 2, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas Blanchar v. Standard Insurance Co.
12-2745
Civil. Affirms District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of Standard, holding that Blanchar is not entitled to overtime compensation  because his work satisfies the requirements of the administrative employee exemption.

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Opinions Nov. 27, 2013

November 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc.
49A04-1305-PL-210
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of a suit seeking class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters and asserted a right to do so. The court found the plaintiff likely entitled to recovery of the fees, and that at minimum the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Remands for proceedings, including whether class certification is appropriate.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2013

November 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wanda Goodpaster, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al.
13-1629
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of the bar owners’ request for injunctive and declaratory relief against the enforcement of the smoking ban in Indianapolis. They cannot succeed on the merits of any of their myriad claims. The injunction the bar owners sought was thus unwarranted.
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Opinions Nov. 25, 2013

November 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James L. Graham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1304-CR-151
Criminal. Vacates a purported habitual offender enhancement and affirms the three-year aggregate sentence following guilty pleas to Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class A misdemeanor operating with suspended license and Class B misdemeanor false informing.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2013

November 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Harold O. Fulp, Jr. v. Nancy A. Gilliland
41S01-1306-TR-426
Trust. Reverses denial of specific performance of the purchase agreement to Harold Fulp Jr. Under the terms of the trust and the Trust Code, Ruth Fulp owed her children no fiduciary duties and was free to sell her farm at less than fair market value; Harold Fulp Jr. is therefore entitled to specific performance. Concludes that Ruth Fulp did not effectively amend the trust by selling the farm.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2013

November 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
B.R., a Minor, by his Guardian, Teresa Todd v. State of Indiana, Indiana Department of Child Services, Morgan County Office of Department of Child Services, and Adult and Child Mental Health Center
55A05-1212-CT-639
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Adult and Child Mental Health Center’s Trial Rule 12(B)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The allegations in B.R.’s complaint, i.e. that his case manager negligently placed him with the respite therapeutic foster parents and negligently failed to inform the foster parents that B.R. was an overly active child known to run from adults and escape his home, are not directly related to any medical care B.R. received from the Health Center. Furthermore, the foster care placement was not made by a health care professional. Because B.R.’s claims sound in general negligence, his claims fall outside the Medical Malpractice Act.
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Opinions Nov. 20, 2013

November 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear
23A01-1303-PL-96
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Spears on their claims of title by acquiescence and adverse possession and denial of summary judgment for the Garrets. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2013

November 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Gersh Zavodnik v. Michela Rinaldi, et al
49S05-1311-CT-759
Civil tort. Reverses order of dismissal and remands to the trial court for further proceedings without prejudice to dismissal under Trial Rule 41(E) if warranted after further consideration.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2013

November 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bart Whitesitt v. Town of Knightstown
33A04-1302-MI-72
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the town of Knightstown. Holds although Indiana Code 33-35-1-1 only allows a second- or third-class city to abolish a local town court every fourth year,  Knightstown did not violate the state statute because its town court was established in 1970 and is, therefore, exempt from the four-year restriction.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2013

November 15, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Patrick Austin v. State of Indiana
20S03-1303-CR-158
Criminal. Affirms conviction and aggregate 45-year sentence for two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. A traffic stop and canine search that led to the discovery of nearly 90 pounds of cocaine hidden in a semi-truck was not unreasonable, and the trial court’s decision to continue Austin’s trial beyond the 70-day speedy trial window due to court congestion was not clearly erroneous.





 
 
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Opinions Nov. 14, 2013

November 14, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Darliss Wert and Gary Wert v. Meridian Security Insurance Company
15A01-1306-CT-252
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the insurance company on the Werts’ underinsured-motorist claim. Provisions in the insurance contract, when read together, make it unclear when the Werts should have filed a lawsuit to preserve their claim and may completely foreclose their ability to file a lawsuit.
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Opinions Nov. 13, 2013

November 13, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Julie Kitchell v. Ted Franklin, as the Mayor of the City of Logansport, and the Common Council of the City of Logansport
09S00-1307-PL-476
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court dismissal of a suit challenging the city’s planned public-private partnership to convert a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity by burning refuse. Justices held that the Indiana Public-Private Agreements statute does not require a local legislative body to adopt an enabling statute before it may issue requests for proposals or begin contract negotiations.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2013

November 12, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Edward Banks, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1301-CR-38
Criminal. Affirms denial of Banks’ motion to correct erroneous sentence.
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Opinions Nov. 11, 2013

November 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
William D. Grote III et al, v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al.
13-1077
Reverses and remands to the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with orders to grant an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the “contraception mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The majority held that Grote Industries made a strong case for relief from the mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Judge Ilana Rovner warned that the panel was rewriting the law to extend rights of religion to a for-profit, secular corporation, thereby opening a host of federal regulations to religious challenges from corporation owners.
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Opinions Nov. 8, 2013

November 8, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Hitesh Seth v. Midland Funding, LLC, as an Assignee of Columbus Bank and Trust as Issuer of Aspire Visa
48A05-1303-CC-110
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Midland Funding LLC on Midland’s complaint against Seth for nonpayment of credit card debt. Midland has failed as a matter of law to designate evidence to make a prima facie case that it is entitled to summary judgment on its complaint. Accordingly, the burden of proof did not shift to Seth to show that there exist questions of material fact precluding summary judgment.
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Opinions Nov. 7, 2013

November 7, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Debra Minott, Faith Laird, Patti Bailey v. Lee Alan Bryant Health Care Facilities, Inc.; Parkview Residential Care Center, L.L.C.; Parke County Residential Care Center, L.L.C., et al.
49A05-1305-PL-213
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of state’s request for restitution for damages paid. The Nov. 8 order was not a final judgment because it did not address the issue of restitution. Holds the law firms and creditor banks in this case are judgment creditors. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Nov. 6, 2013

November 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kimberly Kubina v. State of Indiana
45A03-1303-CR-100
Criminal. Affirms 35-year sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony neglect of a dependent. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding Kubina was in a position of trust with her stepson.
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Opinions Nov. 5, 2013

November 5, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Wilson v. Kelly (Wilson) Myers
71S03-1305-DR-399
Domestic relation. Reverses modification of custody. Finds an abuse of discretion in the way this modification was carried out and ordered as it never mentioned whether the modification was in the best interest of the children or noted any substantial change in any of the factors enumerated in I.C. 31-17-2-8. Orders an evidentiary hearing and inquiry into in-camera interviews. Since the two children have already been pulled from their Indiana school system and are attending school in Michigan, this status quo should continue until further order of the court as to minimize further disruption to the kids.
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Opinions Nov. 4, 2013

November 4, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Christian Serino v. Alec Hensley and City of Oakland City, Indiana
13-1058
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Serino’s lawsuit for federal claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution and Indiana tort claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Serino’s claims are time-barred; his federal malicious prosecution claim failed to state a constitutional violation independent of his time-barred false arrest claim, and his state law claims for malicious prosecution and IIED were barred by the defendants’ immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
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Opinions Nov. 1, 2013

November 1, 2013
Tax Court
Virginia Garwood v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue.
82T10-1208-TA-46
Denies state motion to dismiss Garwood’s claim that she is entitled to a refund of $122,684, the value of animals and property seized from an alleged ‘puppy mill’ through the use of jeopardy tax warrants that were voided by prior court rulings. The court ruled it has jurisdiction because the matter arises under tax law and that Garwood properly filed claims with the Department of State Revenue that led to the litigation.
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Opinions Oct. 31, 2013

October 31, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mark Suesz, individually and on behalf of a class v. Med-1 Solutions LLC
13-1821
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Suesz’s complaint that Med-1 Solutions violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act after obtaining a favorable judgment against him in Marion County Small Claims Court in Pike Township because he neither lived nor signed the contract in that township. Small claim courts are not judicial districts for purposes of the FDCPA. Judge Posner dissents.
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Opinions Oct. 30, 2013

October 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eric Danner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1304-PC-146
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
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Opinions Oct. 29, 2013

October 29, 2013
Shawn Telligman v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Claims Adjudication
93A02-1304-EX-303
Agency action. Affirms ruling in favor of the IDWD’s claim that Telligman failed to disclose or falsified information to IDWD in order to receive unemployment benefits. The ALJ and review board did not err in finding that Telligman knowingly failed to disclose or falsified facts that would disqualify him from receiving benefits, reduce his benefits, or render him ineligible for benefits or extended benefits, and in finding him liable to repay IDWD the benefit overpayment amounts together with applicable penalties and interest. The board did not abuse its discretion in denying his request to submit additional evidence.
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Opinions Oct. 28, 2013

October 28, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Chaunsey L. Fox v. State of Indiana
71A04-1304-CR-187
Criminal. Affirms felony murder conviction. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Fox’s motion to dismiss and allowing the jury to determine the issue of credibility and answer the question of who was telling the truth.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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