Court opinions

Order for IBM to pay subcontractor in state suits affirmed

November 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
An appeals court Tuesday affirmed trial court orders that IBM pay a subcontractor for costs it incurred related to lawsuits over the failed $1.3 billion Family and Social Services Administration modernization contract.
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Court properly declined to modify spousal maintenance agreement

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An ex-wife must pay her husband $4,000 a month in spousal maintenance under an agreement she signed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, affirming a trial court’s decision to deny the woman’s request to modify the maintenance.
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Justices: Trustee of revocable trust serves self

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted a revocable trust case to answer the first impression question: While a trust is revocable, whom does the trustee serve? The justices concluded that an Indiana woman, as trustee, served herself.
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7th Circuit: Federal law does not preempt Indiana’s ‘robo-call’ statute

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday reversed the decision by a federal judge that Indiana’s Automated Dialing Machine Statute is preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The injunction entered against enforcing the law had been stayed by the appellate court pending appeal.
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Justices: Search of vehicle violated woman’s constitutional rights

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday reversed the admittance of statements a woman made to police after a concerned citizen set up a sting operation attempting to catch an alleged drug dealer. The justices held that the warrantless seizure of Danielle Kelly’s person and vehicle violated her constitutional rights.
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Foster child’s claim against health center falls outside Medical Malpractice Act

November 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Morgan County court erred when it granted Adult and Child Mental Health Center Inc.’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of a child in foster care who suffered severe brain damage from a near-drowning. The center argued the complaint was subject to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.
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Text messages properly admitted in custody dispute

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that evidence presented during a custody modification hearing laid a sufficient foundation for the admission of text messages between the mother and father. 
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Court rules in favor of subcontractor suing Fort Wayne

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court properly granted summary judgment for a subcontractor seeking payment from the city of Fort Wayne after the general contractor working on the city park project declared bankruptcy.
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Court finds facilities have immunity in suit over detention

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The three unidentified entities involved in the detention of a Bloomington man for several days after he refused in-patient treatment for alcoholism are entitled to immunity in his lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Neighbors entitled to 12-foot strip of land under doctrine by acquiescence

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between longtime neighbors over use and ownership of a strip of land, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for one set of neighbors based on the doctrine of title by acquiescence.
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COA: Possession of syringe doesn’t support conviction

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the state did not introduce evidence that a man intended to use a syringe found in his pocket after being stopped by police to inject a controlled substance into his body, his conviction for Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia must be reversed, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.
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COA permits Knightstown to abolish town court

November 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A battle between a town council and a judge over the fate of the local town court was stopped with the Indiana Court of Appeals noting the Indiana Legislature tends not to enact statutes that produce “unjust or absurd results.”
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Justices affirm trucker’s cocaine-dealing convictions

November 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the cocaine-dealing convictions of a truck driver who challenged the state police stop that led to discovery of the drugs and claimed he was denied a speedy trial.
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Kraft prevails in Cracker Barrel fight

November 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
Not coming soon to a grocery store near you: food products from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants.
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COA: Food odors don’t support granting preliminary injunctive relief

November 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute over smells from a produce business drifting into neighboring businesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the manager of the shopping plaza is not entitled to preliminary injunctive relief for cooking foods without proper ventilation.
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Injured woman’s insurance policy provisions are in direct conflict

November 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday agreed with a couple that their auto insurance policy is ambiguous because the two-year contractual limitation provision conflicts with another provision requiring full compliance with the contract.
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Partially bifurcating trial prevented prejudice

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s argument that he was prejudiced by a trial court’s decision to not fully bifurcate his murder trial failed in the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices affirm dismissal of Logansport power plant suit

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Local units of government may engage in preliminary talks or solicit prospective public-private partners before those units of government have adopted legislation enabling such agreements, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a challenge to Logansport’s efforts to overhaul a coal-burning power plant.
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Possible improper use of risk assessment in sentencing not enough for remand

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man convicted of child molesting and incest will not get a chance to have his 99-year sentence reduced. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that even though the trial court may have abused its discretion, the sentence was not inappropriate.
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Justices affirm rejection of tendered jury instruction

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judges have wide discretion regarding when and whether to use tendered jury instructions, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in affirming the conviction of a criminal defendant whose proffered instructions on defense of another were rejected.
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Drug-dog sniff after traffic stop was rightly suppressed

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana trial court rightly suppressed drug evidence gathered after a police drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of meth in a van after a traffic stop.
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Increased bail is abuse of discretion, panel rules

November 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court abused its discretion when it raised a defendant’s bail in a meth possession case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA rules preliminary injunction wrongly extended noncompete agreement

November 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In reviewing a dispute over the terms of a noncompete agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals reminded the trial court that a preliminary injunction has limits.
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Justices reject Spierer-obsessed man’s appeal of gun confiscation

November 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from a man whose 51 guns and ammunition were seized after authorities became alarmed by his behavior near the site where missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer was last seen.
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COA reverses summary judgment in complaint to recover credit card debt

November 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a company did not satisfy its burden of proof under Indiana Trial Rule 56(C) when attempting to collect on a breach of a credit card contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday reversed summary judgment in the case.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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