Court opinions

Cedar Lake allowed to dissolve Parks Department, board

March 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior judge erred when she used Dillon’s Rule to determine the scope of the town of Cedar Lake’s legal authority to dissolve its park board and Parks Department, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The proper legal inquiry is based on the state’s Home Rule Act.
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Judges rule against commissioners in eminent domain dispute

March 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a case involving the use of eminent domain to acquire land to expand the runway at the Clark County Airport, the Indiana Court of Appeals encouraged lawyers and the courts to stop using the phrase “jurisdiction over a particular case” when the term “legal error” should be used.
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Nursing student loses appeal of dismissal from Purdue

March 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A nursing student at Purdue University’s Fort Wayne campus was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday that the university and officials violated her due process rights and breached a contract with her when they dismissed her from the program due to behavioral difficulties.
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Judges affirm reduction of subrogation lien

March 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected State Farm Insurance Company’s argument that its subrogation lien regarding one couple’s policy shouldn’t be reduced based on State Farm’s refusal in a policy held by another family to pay the full amount of the couple’s claim following a car accident.
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Man’s statement on drug allowed at trial

March 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday that a trial court did not commit fundamental error in admitting Charles Meriwether’s statement to police that he had marijuana in his car.
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Man must reinstate original complaints for lawsuits to proceed

March 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday that a man with a propensity to sue over purchases made online may not file a new lawsuit in Marion County after a similar one was dismissed without prejudice.
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COA affirms angry ex-boyfriend’s battery convictions

March 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana man, angry that his ex-girlfriend was in a new relationship, had his convictions of battery by means of a deadly weapon upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The convictions stemmed from his ramming of the new boyfriend’s car with his.
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Judges deny prisoner’s request to appeal without paying fees

March 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that he and other prisoners do not need to pay appellate filing and docketing fees, and so a District Court’s certification of appeal is irrelevant.
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Woman suing for unpaid wages passes ‘duck test’

March 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Justice Mark Massa made repeated references in Wednesday’s decision to the “Duck Test” – if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck – in a day laborer’s lawsuit to recover unpaid damages from a Fort Wayne company. The justices found Brandy Walczak’s lawsuit may proceed under the Wage Payment Act.
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7th Circuit again reverses drug sentence for minor role reduction

March 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of a federal charge that he transported drug money will be sentenced a third time after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a nonprecedential opinion that a resentencing the court ordered in 2010 did not sufficiently consider his minor role compared with conspirators.
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Is COA opinion on threat to judge a threat to rights?

March 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Advocates say imprisoned blogger's ruling out of the Indiana Court of Appeals imperils the First Amendment.
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Suit against Catholic diocese alleging firing after fertility treatment proceeds

March 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
A former teacher who claims her contract at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne was not renewed because she underwent in vitro fertilization treatments may proceed with a suit against the Catholic diocese.
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Justices: Evidence of dismissed crimes allowable for post-conviction relief

March 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Delaware County man who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and criminal confinement in a deal that dropped seven other felony counts was not improperly denied post-conviction relief when a judge considered evidence of charges that were dismissed, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Court affirms reduction of support ordered in another state

March 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A court order reducing a father’s child support obligation from that set by a Pennsylvania court was affirmed Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Ruling: Easement to Eagle Creek indeed leads to water

March 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court ruling that forbid residents of a lakefront subdivision from accessing the water from a public easement was overturned Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Separate notice argument not enough to vacate small claims judgment

March 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A business’s argument that it should have been served with a separate notice of a small claims action was rejected by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday.
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Lake County man warned against disparaging bench

March 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Lake County man with a history of filing unsupported allegations and derogatory comments in pleadings was rebuffed on his latest appearance before the Indiana Court of Appeals, which warned him against disparaging the bench.
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Man’s conviction of auto theft upheld

March 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Although a trial court’s refusal to give a defendant’s jury instruction was an error, it was harmless and his felony auto theft conviction should be affirmed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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State didn’t prove man committed trespass

March 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a criminal trespass conviction for a Marion County man after finding the state didn’t prove a material element of the crime.
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Majority sides with hotel in lawsuit stemming from molestation

March 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for a hotel, its owner and the hotel franchisor that the hotel’s insurance company had no duty to defend a civil complaint brought by a minor motel guest who was molested by an off-duty employee.
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School corporation’s renovation of building violated public bidding laws

March 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation’s renovation of a building to be used to house all administrative offices violated the state’s Public Bidding Laws.
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Justices: Use preponderance of evidence standard to find probation violation

March 6, 2013
Kimberly Heaton will have a new hearing on whether she violated the terms of her probation when she was charged with Class D felony theft. The Indiana Supreme Court vacated her probation revocation because a Madison Superior judge may have used the wrong legal standard to find the violation.
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Justices rule in favor of insurer in dispute over canceled policy

March 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for American Family Insurance in a lawsuit filed by a couple after the insurer denied coverage for a 2003 fire at their home and voided the insurance policy from its beginning.
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COA: Court properly denied instruction on innocence

March 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying a jury instruction on the presumption of innocence submitted by a man on trial for murder and neglect of a dependent, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Man to get new trial because of counsel’s performance

March 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the extent of prior bad acts admitted into evidence during a man’s trial in Hancock County was “breathtaking,” the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered he be retried on burglary and handgun charges.
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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