Opinions

Opinions Oct. 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Opinions, Oct. 7, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

The Estate of Richard A. Mayer, and Spangler, Jennings & Dougherty v. Lax, Inc., and David Lasco
37A03-1207-PL-323
Civil plenary. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. Reverses denial of summary judgment to the Estate and Spangler Jennings on claims for negligent supervision and/or retention, tortious interference with a business relationship, and tortious interference with a contract, and directs that summary judgment be entered in the estate’s and Spangler Jennings’s favor on those claims. Reverses denial of summary judgment to Spangler Jennings on the defamation claim and directs that summary judgment be entered in its favor on that claim. Reverses the denial of summary judgment to the estate regarding Lax and Lasco’s seeking punitive damages against it and direct that summary judgment be entered in favor of the estate on that claim. Affirms the granting of summary judgment in the estate’s favor on the defamation and malicious prosecution claims. Affirms denial of summary judgment on the malicious prosecution claim against Spangler Jennings and the denial of summary judgment on the abuse of process claim to both the estate and Spangler Jennings. Affirms the denial of summary judgment in favor of Spangler Jennings on punitive damages.

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Opinions Oct. 4, 2013

October 4, 2013
Opinions Oct. 4, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Dexter Berry v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A04-1301-CR-34
Post conviction. Remands for recalculation of pretrial credit time applied against an executed 10-year sentence for conviction of Class B felony burglary.
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Opinions, Oct. 3, 2013

October 3, 2013
Opinions, Oct. 3, 2013

Indiana Tax Court

Orange County Assessor v. James E. Stout
49T10-1112-TA-94
Property tax. Affirms the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that the Orange County Assessor failed the meet the burden of proving that Stout’s land assessment was proper. Finds although the Indiana Board applied a 2011 statute to a 2010 appeal, the 2011 law was not new but a clarification of the original 2009 statute which shifted the burden to the assessor. Also rules the assessor failed to provide any evidence demonstrating that Stout was not using his 8.12 acre property for an agriculture purpose.
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Opinions Oct. 1, 2013

October 1, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Christina Atkins, and Kyla Atkins, by her parent and next friend Christina Atkins v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC
49A02-1302-CT-181
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Atkins’ motion for leave to file a belated appeal under Indiana Trial Rule 72(E). Finds in order for remedy under the trial rule, counsel has to first establish either the court did not send a copy of the order, ruling or judgment or sent a copy to the wrong address. Lack of notice is the prerequisite before any relief can be granted. Atkins’ counsel received notice of the court’s judgment in favor of Veolia but misfiled it. Therefore, Atkins had received the notice and cannot obtain relief under Rule 72(E).
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Opinions Sept. 30, 2013

September 30, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 30, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Archer v. State of Indiana

49A05-1209-CR-448
Criminal. Affirms Class A felony conviction of child molestation, rejecting arguments that the trial court’s statement about the victim’s competency was an impermissible vouching statement and that the court improperly allowed vouching statements by multiple witnesses. The court’s denial of Archer’s request to present evidence of the victim’s post-allegation demeanor also was proper, as were jury instructions and the effectiveness of Archer’s trial counsel.
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Opinions Sept. 26, 2013

September 26, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
M & M Investment Group, LLC v. Ahlemeyer Farms, Inc. and Monroe Bank
03S04-1211-CC-645
Civil collection. Reverses the trial court and remands. Rules the requirement in Indiana Code 6-1.1-24-3(b)  that a mortgage holder must request a copy of a notice that a parcel of property is eligible for tax sale does not violate the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. The Supreme Court upheld 20 years of precedent in finding the statute is constitutional.
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Opinions Sept. 25, 2013

September 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven Harper and Rose Harper as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Steven Harper, Deceased v. Gerry Hippensteel, M.D.
42A04-1302-MI-95
Miscellaneous/medical malpractice. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Gerry Hippensteel, concluding that he did not owe a duty to Steven Harper Jr. on the basis of a Collaborative Practice Agreement the doctor signed with a nurse practitioner who provided care. Because Hippensteel took no affirmative action with regard to Harper, he is entitled to summary judgment because no doctor-patient relationship existed or was imposed by the agreement.
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Opinions Sept. 24, 2013

September 24, 2013
Opinions  Sept 24, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

Jerome Milian v. State of Indiana
79A02-1302-CR-197
Criminal. Affirms trial court denial of Jerome Milian’s pro se motion to withdraw his plea of guilty to Class A felony dealing cocaine. The court concluded that Milian, who was represented at his pro se hearing by stand-by counsel, received multiple advisements and admonishments from the trial court regarding his rights, and in particular, his right to representation by counsel. Milian failed to meet his burden of proving that he was subjected to manifest injustice.
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Opinions Sept. 23, 2013

September 23, 2013
Opinions, Sept. 23, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals

C. Subah Packer v. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development
93A02-1301-EX-83
Agency action. Affirms determination of a liability administrative law judge that a horse stable owner must pay unemployment compensation taxes plus interest and penalties for employees during the years 2008-2011 because they performed some amount of non-agricultural labor. Because employment records did not establish the amount of wages paid to workers for agricultural or non-agricultural work, a determination that Packer must pay taxes on total compensation for the audit years is not arbitrary, unreasonable, against the evidence or contrary to law.
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Opinions - Sept. 20, 2013

September 20, 2013
Opinions – Sept. 20, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals


Walter E. Lunsford v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as Trustee
30A01-1302-MF-63
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Deutsche Bank, holding that its mortgage was the senior lien on a property that Walter Lunsford sold on a land contract years earlier but failed to record until after the mortgage was recorded. Deutsche Bank is the holder of the note and was entitled to enforce the loan document after a default, and Lunsford waived his arguments that the bank lacks standing and that it refused his offer to make payment in full because those arguments were not raised before the trial court.
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Opinions Sept. 19, 2013

September 19, 2013
Beneficial Financial 1 Inc., Successor in Interest to Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Indiana v. Sharon Hatton, a/k/a Sharon J. Hatton, First Select, Inc., Calvary SPV, II, LLC, and Discover Bank
45A03-1212-MF-531
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses trial court grant of dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, finding that a surviving company after a merger needs no documentation of assignment of interest in Hatton’s mortgage, and remands to the trial court with instructions to reinstate Beneficial’s complaint for damages. Beneficial also must have an opportunity to prove that a mutual mistake was the cause of an erroneous legal description of the property secured by the mortgage.
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Opinions Sept. 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Kevin M. Clark v. State of Indiana
20S05-1301-CR-10
Criminal. Reverses conviction and 45-year sentence for Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine, holding that police violated the Fourth Amendment protections of Kevin Clark when a late-night call regarding someone allegedly living improperly at a 24-hour self-storage unit instead became a “fishing expedition” for narcotics based on an officer’s hunch. Officers saw nothing illegal or appearing to constitute narcotics use, and evidence gathered from resulting search must be suppressed as fruit of the poison tree, a 4-1 majority ruled. Justice Mark Massa dissented, holding that when Clark dropped a bag as police approached, it provided reasonable suspicion, as did Clark’s subsequent admission that the bag contained marijuana.
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Opinions Sept. 17, 2013

September 17, 2013
Indiana Tax Court
United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-0704-TA-24
Premiums tax. On remand from a reversal by the Indiana Supreme Court, denies UPS’s motion for summary judgment of an appeal of taxes due for the years 2000 and 2001 and grants summary judgment in favor of the Department of Revenue, holding that statutes governing premiums tax on out-of-state insurers are immune from Commerce Clause challenges.
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Opinions Sept. 16, 2013

September 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larry Lyons, Jr. v. State of Indiana
36A01-1208-CR-331
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felony methamphetamine possession. Finds there is no evidence that the trial court’s failure to provide instructions in strict accordance to Indiana Code 35-37-2-4 and Indiana Jury Rule 26(b) caused Lyons harm or put him at substantial risk of harm.
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Opinions Sept. 13, 2013

September 13, 2013
Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber & Hardware; and Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center, Inc. v. Chi-Tec Construction & Remodeling, Inc.; John F. Ziola, Jr.; Et Al.
46A03-1301-MI-18
Miscellaneous/mechanic’s lien. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of the Margret Lynn West trust, one of the defendant parties, and orders summary judgment entered for Von Tobel. The panel reversed a trial court ruling that the lien was invalid because a pre-lien notice named “Von Tobel Lumber & Home Center Inc.” and the lien notice named “Von Tobel Corporation” as claimants. The difference was minimal, not misleading and didn’t prejudice the trust or other parties, the panel held.
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Opinions Sept. 12, 2013

September 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as Co-Personal Reps. of the Estate of Margaret A. Dreyer
10S01-1308-PL-529
Civil plenary. Grants transfer to dispel confusion arising from “inartful language” in previous opinion.
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Opinions Sept. 11, 2013

September 11, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
David Hughes v. Kore of Indiana Enterprise Inc., et al.
13-8018
Civil. Reverses decertification of a class action, finding the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, did not provide adequate grounds for the ruling, and remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Sept. 10, 2013

September 10, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John Scott
12-2962
Criminal. Affirms U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruling denying a motion to suppress evidence gathered from a search warrant issued after a driveway conversation involving drug deals was captured without the knowledge of either party, after a dealer took a confidential informant’s vehicle to meet his supplier, John Scott. The panel held that sufficient evidence aside from the recorded conversation supported the issuance of the warrant.
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Opinions Sept. 9, 2013

September 9, 2013
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Christopher Eads
12-2464
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 480-month sentence for distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography and tampering with a witness. Addresses the issues Eads raises on appeal but upholds the decision of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Finds the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Eads to represent himself; the conviction for witness tampering was supported by the evidence; a new trial is not warranted because no new evidence has been discovered; and the discussion of 18 U.S.C. 3553 factors at sentencing was sufficient. Agrees with Eads that the district court erred in not thoroughly explaining on the record why it allowed images to be shown to the jury but rules the error is harmless because the additional evidence against him was overwhelming.  
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Opinions, Sept. 6, 2013

September 6, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Scott Weigle and April Weigle v. SPX Corp.
12-3024 and John Moore, II and Corinne Moore v. SPX Corp.

12-3025
Civil. Vacates a district court grant of summary judgment for SPX Corp. on a complaint seeking damages due design defects on a semi-truck trailer support stand from which a trailer fell on mechanics. Affirms the district court judgment of summary judgment with respect to inadequate-warning claims.
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Opinions Sept. 5, 2013

September 5, 2013

Opinions, Sept. 5, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ezekier Breaziel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-CR-731
Criminal. Dismisses Breaziel’s interlocutory appeal of the denial of his motion to dismiss the charges against. Concludes sua sponte the COA lacks authority under the appellate rules to accept jurisdiction of Breaziel’s appeal.

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Opinions Sept. 4, 2013

September 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua Basey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A01-1301-CR-40
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.
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Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.
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Opinions August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
John W. Schoettmer & Karen Schoettmer v. Jolene C. Wright & South Central Community Action Program, Inc.
49S04-1210-CT-607
Civil Tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment in defendants favor and remands for further proceedings. Rules even though the Schoettmers filed their law suit against South Central well past the Indiana Tort Claims Act’s 180-day deadline, they should be allowed to present proof of estoppel to the trial court. Finds South Central never told John Schoettmer it was covered by the Act and that South Central’s insurer did not make a settlement offer until nearly three months after the ITCA deadline.
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Opinions August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Court of Appeals

Stephanie Murry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-CR-39
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in Marion County Community Corrections
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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