Court opinions

NIPSCO loses appeal of reinstatement of driving privileges

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Northern Indiana Public Service Company was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that a lower court erred when it reinstated the driving privileges of two people who had been involved in car accidents that damaged NIPSCO’s property.
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COA: Woman’s conduct is harassment, not intimidation

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a woman’s misdemeanor intimidation conviction stemming from her communications with the wife of her baby’s father. The court held that the state was unable to prove she committed intimidation as charged.
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Man’s 10-year cocaine sentence upheld by 7th Circuit

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the drugs seized at his home with a warrant following his arrest should have been excluded from determining his sentence after the District judge ruled the warrant was invalid.
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COA finds dismissal of judicial review petition not warranted

February 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the Indiana Supreme Court has been divided on this issue – but will take it up soon – the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that it could review the dismissal of a petition for judicial review even though the company filing the petition did not file a complete, certified agency record.
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Woman’s convictions are crimes of violence, justifying sentence

February 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the state Thursday that a woman’s Class D felony drunken-driving convictions are considered “crimes of violence” under Indiana law, so there was no error when the trial court imposed a seven-year consecutive sentence.
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Wabash fraternity must face alleged hazing-injury claim

February 13, 2014
Dave Stafford
A freshman pledge’s personal-injury claim resulting from what he alleged was a hazing incident at Wabash College may proceed against the campus fraternity, and he may seek compensatory and punitive damages, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday, overturning lower court rulings.
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Appeals court: IBM materially breached contract with state

February 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a Marion County judge’s finding that IBM did not materially breach the contract it had with the state to modernize its welfare system. As a result, the appeals court ordered a determination of damages to the state.
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Man gets partial win on appeal, still must pay for damaging woman’s home

February 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The man who purchased 2.28 acres of land in a foreclosure sale must pay for the damage he caused by taking the law into his own hands in trying to evict a woman living in a mobile home on the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But, the court reversed summary judgment in favor of the woman on adverse possession, prescriptive easement and trespass claims.
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COA finds portion of public intoxication statute unconstitutionally vague

February 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that the portion of the public intoxication statute enacted in 2012 that uses the term “annoys” is void for vagueness. As such, it reversed a man’s conviction for public intoxication that was based on annoying behavior.
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COA reverses piercing of corporate veil, but upholds slander of title finding

February 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Hendricks County storage facility’s claims of breach of contract and slander of title were affirmed on appeal against a contractor hired by the facility to provide excavation services. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the piercing of Country Contractors Inc.’s corporate veil to find its two shareholders personally liable.
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Justices: Facts don’t justify subjecting family to CHINS proceeding

February 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the finding that a child with special needs is a child in need of services after ruling that the circumstances of this case don’t support that the mother needed the court’s coercive intervention to address concerns in the CHINS petition.
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Explanation as to the spirit of the law was harmless error

February 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a trial court’s words to a jury about the spirit of Indiana’s criminal law was improper and an error, it was harmless and could not overturn a defendant’s sentence of life without parole.
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Supreme Court, split 3-2, snuffs Evansville casino smoking exception

February 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday rejected Evansville’s amended smoking ban that exempted the former Aztar riverboat casino, now known as Tropicana Evansville.
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Recent SCOTUS decision trims identity-theft sentence

February 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
An Indiana man convicted of stealing the Social Security numbers of more than 10 people must be sentenced to less time in prison because of a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a five-page opinion Friday.
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7th Circuit: Gunman’s reach for weapon nullifies excessive force claim

February 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A federal court in South Bend rightfully rejected a civil rights claim brought by a man shot by state troopers trying to serve a warrant who found themselves in a six-hour armed standoff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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For-profit Veolia Water not entitled to common law sovereign immunity

February 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that for-profit, private company Veolia Water is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from a fire that destroyed an Indianapolis Texas Roadhouse restaurant in 2010.
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COA: Lifetime suspension of driving privileges is not a punishment

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that his lifetime suspension of driving privileges is cruel and unusual punishment, upholding the suspension. They held the suspension is not punitive.
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COA replaces opinion on post-conviction ruling with corrected version

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Acknowledging that the state is correct when it claims the Indiana Court of Appeals relied on the wrong Supreme Court decision in affirming the denial of a petition for post-conviction relief, the appellate court issued a new opinion Wednesday.
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Court prevents mother from relocating to Hawaii with daughter

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial court Wednesday that it is not in the best interests of a child to move to Hawaii with her mother and stepfather.
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7th Circuit rules for city on discrimination claims brought by black officers, firefighters

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the City of Indianapolis in two lawsuits brought by dozens of black police officers and firefighters over the examination process used by the city for promotions.
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Ruling prevents county from subrogating damages after courthouse fire

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday adopted the “majority approach” in a waiver of subrogation issue and concluded a southern Indiana county waived its right to subrogate any and all claims covered by its property insurance. Jefferson County sued contractors after its courthouse caught fire during renovations in 2009.
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Judges order injunction against enforcement of permit policy

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who wanted to protest a proposed United Nations arms treaty on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in 2012 but was kicked off the property because of a lack of permit was victorious in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
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COA affirms disability benefit for injured officer

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the statute is ambiguous, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the Indiana Public Retirement System’s longtime use of a formula to calculate the disability benefits of a police officer shot while in the line of duty to be reasonable.
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Evidence supports CHINS finding, COA affirms

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Based on evidence that a mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with her children’s fathers, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the determination that a woman’s two young children were children in need of services.
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Judges reduce restitution award stemming from correctional officer attack

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A partial permanent impairment settlement cannot be considered by a trial court when imposing restitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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