Opinions

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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Opinions August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Butler et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
11-8029, 12-8030
Civil. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, reinstates class-action certification for two claims regarding front-loading Kenmore washing machines sold by Sears: that design defects created odor-producing mold and cause the machine to stop at inopportune times. Applying the SCOTUS holding in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013), the court held that a single common issue of liability ran through class action claims: whether the washers were defective.
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Opinions Aug. 22, 2013

August 22, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger A. Buchanan and Susan Buchanan v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc.
39A01-1211-MF-515
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of HSBC Mortgage Services, holding that even if a mortgage was not properly acknowledged, the Buchanans don’t deny that they executed a mortgage and note when they purchased their home, on which they stopped making mortgage payments in 2007. The Buchanans’ arguments therefore are without merit.
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Opinions, Aug. 21, 2013

August 21, 2013
Opinions – Aug. 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals

Rodney Melton v. State of Indiana
49A02-1212-CR-1008
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, rejecting an argument that the dissemination statute requires a “performance” under that law be public. The court also found Melton’s 11-year aggregate sentence was not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense.
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Opinions Aug. 20, 2013

August 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carl J. Brandenburg v. State of Indiana
40A04-1301-CR-23
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation for failure to pay child support after conviction of a Class C felony charge of non-support of a dependent child, but remands to the trial court for a recalculation of the arrearage. The court found that Brandenburg’s daughter had turned 21 before he was charged, and the state acknowledged uncertainty about the ruling that the arrearage was $17,795.05, rather than an amount closer to $10,000, as Brandenburg claims.
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Opinions Aug. 19, 2013

August 19, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Derik A. Blocker and Tammi Blocker v. U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for the Certificateholders Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust Inc. Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificate Series 2007-AHL3
45A03-1211-MF-479
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment to U.S. Bank, holding that no issues of material fact exist, and discards arguments that appeared to stem from “Redemptionist” movement theory claiming that debts could be settled through claims made to the United States Treasury. 
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Opinions Aug. 15, 2013

August 15, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. James Simon
11-1837
Criminal. Affirms jury conviction from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, on charges of filing false income tax returns, failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts, mail fraud and financial aid fraud. There was a legal basis for his convictions, and the District Court did not err in limiting defense evidence regarding some of the charges or in rulings on jury instruction.
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Opinions August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013
Opinions Aug. 13, 2013

Indiana Court of Appeals
Rollett Family Farms, LLC. v. Area Plan Commission of Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners, and Vanderburgh County Recorder

82A01-1301-PL-43
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court judgment denying claims that “lots of record” for boundaries of river camps could be established based on the testimony of longtime residents. The lack of official documentation defeats the plain meaning of the words “of record,” requiring some sort of official documentation in the public record, the panel ruled.
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Opinions August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas H. Hurlow v. United States of America
12-1374
Criminal. Reverses the district court’s denial of Hurlow’s 2255 petition and remands for further proceedings. Rules Hurlow’s allegation - he would not have entered into the plea agreement had his counsel informed him of his potentially meritorious Fourth Amendment claim - was sufficient to overcome the wavier in his plea agreement not to contest his conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255.
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Opinions Aug. 9, 2013

August 9, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Paul Hester v. Indiana State Department of Health
12-3207
Civil. Affirms District Court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Department of Health. The panel held that there was evidence that Hester was fired for cause, and that Hester failed to produce evidence showing age, race or gender discrimination supporting his claim that his firing violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e17.
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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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