Court opinions

Appeals court clears hotel in guest's death outside

July 31, 2012
Dave Stafford
The family of a hotel guest who died after falling and hitting his head outside on a cold night may not proceed with a wrongful death suit against the hotel, the Court of Appeals held in a ruling Tuesday.
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Worker's disability denial affirmed at 7th Circuit

July 31, 2012
Dave Stafford
A former worker whose degenerating discs and spondylolisthesis caused her to no longer be able to work as a sales rep for AstraZeneca was not improperly deprived of benefits when the insurer terminated them.
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Justices: Ex-wife must agree to lower sales price

July 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously held that a trial court had no authority to modify a property agreement made by ex-spouses and that the ex-wife is entitled by law to refuse to waive a provision that neither party had to accept a sale that was below specified minimums.
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Supreme Court divided on whether man's claims against bank can proceed

July 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Two Indiana justices believed that a man’s actual fraud and tortious interference with contract claims against Old National Bank should go to trial, an opposite conclusion reached by their fellow justices.
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Supreme Court knocks down habitual-offender enhancement

July 31, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court found a habitual-offender enhancement tacked onto the 20-year sentence of a serious violent felon was an “impermissible double enhancement.”
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Supreme Court rules landowner must pay county drainage assessment

July 30, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Marshall County landowner will have to pay a drainage assessment on a county-maintained ditch, even though he said his property derives little benefit from the drainage system for which he’s ordered to pay a share.
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Coachmen, All-American win appeal in hotel dispute

July 30, 2012
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court ruling in favor of two Indiana companies that were involved in a Tennessee hotel project that failed to develop.
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COA upholds trial court’s actions and sentence during drug trial

July 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant who contended the trial court abused its discretion and imposed an inappropriately harsh sentence had his drug conviction upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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245-year sentence affirmed in Hovey Street slayings

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
The gunman who pleaded guilty to four murders in the 3200 block of Hovey Street in Indianapolis was properly given and deserved a 245-year sentence for the crimes, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Crawford holding doesn’t apply to probation revocation hearings

July 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s argument Thursday that he should be afforded the same right of confrontation in his probation revocation hearing as is outlined in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).
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$2.9M verdict in mill accident case upheld

July 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the admittance of an expert’s opinion as to causation of an accident at a northern Indiana steel rolling mill, finding the federal court properly denied a company’s Daubert motion to bar that testimony.
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Justices: Good-time-credit amendment not retroactive

July 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court interpreted a 2010 amendment on credit time earned during placement in community corrections to only apply to those placed on home detention on or after its July 1, 2010, effective date.
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COA affirms drug dealing, possession convictions

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of multiple felony drug charges and sentenced to 50 years in prison with 15 years suspended was not deprived his Fourth Amendment rights, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Appeals court upholds killer’s PCR denial

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of murder in Delaware County is not entitled to post-conviction relief due to ineffective counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Justices reverse Tax Court, determine Miller Brewing owes

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
Miller Brewing owes $806,366 in income tax on beer transported by common carriers to Indiana from its Milwaukee brewery, the Indiana Supreme Court determined in a ruling Thursday that reversed the state Tax Court, ending a decade-long dispute.
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Appeals court: Worker entitled to pursue compensation after settlement

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
A worker injured in a traffic accident who received a settlement for a workers’ compensation claim in Wisconsin may proceed with a claim in Indiana, where the crash occurred, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Majority upholds habitual traffic violator conviction

July 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Four justices found that Indiana Code 9-30-10-16 indicating when a person commits a Class D felony while driving with a suspended license is not unconstitutionally vague and evidence supports a man’s conviction of Class D felony operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic violator.
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Justices uphold sentence for kidnapping jail officer

July 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a four-page per curiam decision, the Indiana Supreme Court reinstated the trial court’s 47-year sentence of Roger Bushhorn, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his escape, kidnapping and assault of jail officials.
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Judge believes court could remove man from sex offender list

July 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Margret Robb dissented from her colleagues in a case involving a man who wanted his name taken off the Indiana Sex Offender Registry.
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Appellate court affirms reinstatement of father’s license

July 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split Thursday over whether a father who was more than $100,000 behind in child support should be allowed to have his driving privileges reinstated.
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Attorney not entitled to prejudgment interest

July 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A southern Indiana lawyer who entered into an agreement with another attorney to handle some of his cases due to his suspension from practice is not entitled to prejudgment interest on his portion of a client fee, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Defendant not harmed by refusal to grant mistrial

July 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court found no harm was done when an uncooperative defendant’s mouth was covered by a bailiff in order to quiet the man, so the trial court correctly denied the defendant’s motion for a mistrial.
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Judge: consider corroborative evidence in certain molestation cases

July 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge John Baker thinks it’s time that corroborative evidence be required in child molestation cases in which the charges are supported by the testimony of a single witness.
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School bus drivers can’t sue school corporation for collusion

July 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit for collusion brought by 13 North Gibson School Corporation bus drivers against the school corporation as a result of bids for a transportation services contract failed on interlocutory appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Federal judge rules against environmental groups in I-69 suit

July 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The two environmental organizations challenging the construction of Interstate 69 in southern Indiana lost in federal court Tuesday. The lawsuit filed by Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads dealt with the stretch of the interstate from Washington, Ind. to Scotland, Ind.
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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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