Court opinions

Judges affirm ruling in favor of Jeep dealer

March 1, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a southwestern Indiana car dealer being sued by a customer for injuries in a car accident under the Indiana Products Liability Act after Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy.
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Parents cannot each recover under policy's underinsured motorist provisions

February 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The parents of a teenager killed in a crash during a drag race cannot recover funds in their individual capacities under their automobile insurance underinsured motorist provisions, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.
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Appellate court overturns sexual battery conviction

February 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a man’s conviction of Class D felony sexual battery because the defendant’s actions don’t qualify for sexual battery under Indiana statute. It ordered the man be convicted of Class B misdemeanor battery.
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Judges rule in favor of California attorney in Simon case

February 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the decision of a Marion Superior judge that denied a California attorney’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Herbert and Bui Simon for lack of personal jurisdiction. The lawsuit stems from comments the attorney made to an Indianapolis television station regarding lawsuits involving the Simons.
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Judges affirm dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction

February 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the decision by a trial court to dismiss a company’s state law claims against a labor union, finding those claims are preempted by a decision of the National Labor Relations Board.
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COA: agency's claim for Medicaid reimbursement allowed

February 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a trial court erred in concluding that the Family and Social Services Administration’s preferred claim for reimbursement of Medicaid benefits against an estate was not timely filed.
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Indiana Court decisions - Feb. 9-22, 2012

February 29, 2012
IL Staff
Read for publication decisions from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Indiana appellate courts from Feb. 9-22, 2012.
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Divided court affirms liability in 'courtesy wave' case

February 28, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. One judge disagreed with the majority decision, stating the opinion is contrary to sound public policy.
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COA finds double jeopardy in DeLaney attacker's case

February 27, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that two convictions of a former attorney who attacked a lawyer-legislator violated Indiana’s double jeopardy clause and that one of the charges should be reduced in order to remedy the violation.
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Court properly preserved home habitability claim

February 27, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a Clark County case can continue involving claims against a home construction company. The former homeowners allege that the company defectively built their home and that mold and water damage occurred, leading to loss of habitability.
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Court rules on post-merger bank foreclosure rights

February 24, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a federal statute provides the authority for a bank that survives after a merger to enforce the promissory note and mortgage established by a predecessor bank.
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Judges affirm denial of post-conviction relief

February 23, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to find an attorney provided ineffective assistance of trial counsel to a man on trial for the second time because that attorney didn’t defend the case in the same manner as did the attorney on the first trial.
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Judges uphold drunk-driving conviction

February 23, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to find that a Marion Superior court abused its discretion when it admitted the results of a chemical breath test.
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No fundamental error in jury seeing previously dismissed counts

February 23, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals relied in part on two decades-old cases from the state Supreme Court to find that exposing the jury to dismissed charges did not deprive a defendant of a fundamentally fair trial.
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Justices address Batson challenges in 2 appeals

February 22, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on two cases Wednesday that stemmed from Batson challenges, and in doing so, articulated the standard of review of such challenges when a defendant raises a Batson challenge at the trial level, but then brings up a different argument on appeal.
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Supreme Court split over reducing man's sentence

February 22, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court was divided 3-2 over whether to reduce the sentence of a man who received the maximum 20 years for having cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school when police stopped his vehicle.
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Court of Appeals reverses molestation convictions

February 22, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has thrown out a man’s convictions of Class A felony child molesting because the trial court erred in admitting improper vouching testimony.
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Appellate court reverses grant of post-conviction relief

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found that the post-conviction court erred when it concluded that a defendant had not knowingly waived his right to counsel.
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COA overturns drug conviction

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Because there was no evidence presented as to why a defendant was stopped or that the state’s actions were reasonable, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s conviction of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
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SCOTUS denies 4 Indiana cases, issues order in pending appeal

February 21, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear four cases from Indiana, and it has asked the federal government to weigh in on a pending appeal about alleged workplace harassment involving Ball State University.
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COA upholds judgment in favor of employer in wrongful termination suit

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of Insurance in a lawsuit filed by a former employee claiming wrongful termination.
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COA rules on anonymous online commenter case

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered the trial court apply a modified test based on a New Jersey case to determine whether The Indianapolis Star must identify an online user whose comment is part of a defamation lawsuit.
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Judge: facility not exempt from property tax

February 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court has upheld the decision of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that a Tipton County assisted living facility failed to raise a prima facie case that it is exempt from property tax under Indiana Code 6-1.1-10-16.
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Nonsupport of dependent enhancement not based on number of children

February 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that under Indiana Code 35-46-1-5(a), the enhancement of nonsupport of a dependent child to a Class C felony because of an arrearage of $15,000 or more is triggered by the dollar amount owed, regardless of how many children the parent has.
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7th Circuit affirms sentence for sexual involvement with 12-year-old girl

February 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 135-month sentence given to a man who drove from Illinois to have sex with a 12-year-old Westfield girl, finding that although the District Court miscalculated the imprisonment range, the defendant was sentenced within the correct guidelines range.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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