Court opinions

Court rules for widow in Holiday World suit

October 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The widow and children of the late William Koch Jr. can keep their shares in the southern Indiana theme park, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, after a ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that William’s brother, Dan Koch, and Koch Development Corp. offered too little money for the shares.
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‘Notre Dame 88’ lawyer cleared in discipline case

October 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
An attorney who argued that a judge’s bias warranted her recusal from a case involving pro-life students arrested for protesting the announcement of President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame was cleared of disciplinary charges Tuesday.
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Trial court's suppression order binding to ethics commission

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
After turning to the Indiana State Ethics Commission when a trial court ordered the evidence in a theft case suppressed, the state was reminded it “does not get a second bite at the apple.”   
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Walking down sidewalk while drunk does not meet new conditions for public intox, COA rules

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Four criteria added to the state’s public intoxication statute in 2012 presented the Indiana Court of Appeals with a question of first impression when it considered a man’s arrest for being drunk in a public place.
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COA reverses involuntary termination order for a second time

October 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals sharply rebuked a trial court as having “committed clear error” by relying on old evidence and testimony in terminating a Vanderburgh County couple’s parental rights.
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Misplaced court order not the same as undelivered, COA rules

October 1, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Reviewing an appeal arising from a misplaced court order, the Indiana Court of Appeals has made clear that relief under Indiana Trial Rule 72(E) requires evidence that counsel did not receive the court’s notice.
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Tax sale stands even though mortgage holder not notified

September 26, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld 20 years of precedent in finding that a county auditor is obligated to notify a mortgage holder of an impending property sale only when that mortgage holder specifically requests a notice.
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Justices: Child support agreement must apply changing guidelines

September 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father whose annual income included varying bonuses and commissions is obligated to provide child support payments in line with evolving guidelines, despite a support agreement made a year earlier than the rules were revised, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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Parental termination remanded over substitute magistrate’s findings

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father’s due process rights were violated when a juvenile court stripped him of parental rights based on findings of facts prepared by a magistrate who did not hear from and observe witnesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The magistrate took over the case after another magistrate, who had conducted the evidentiary hearing in his case, resigned.
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Jury rulings stand in U.S. Steel carbon monoxide poisoning case

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A jury’s determinations in a case brought by a contractor who suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning working at the U.S. Steel plant in Gary were affirmed Wednesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA affirms ruling clearing consulting doctor in death case claiming negligence

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly granted summary judgment to a doctor defending a negligence case brought by the estate of a man who died, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, finding no doctor-patient relationship existed.
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Arbitrator's unavailability will not stop arbitration from starting

September 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found an arbitration agreement’s “plain language” trumps a woman’s attempt to stop the alternative dispute resolution process.
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Protective order reversed for lack of evidence

September 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divorcing woman’s protective order against her soon-to-be ex-husband was not supported by evidence, an appeals panel ruled Thursday in reversing the trial court’s order.
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Receipt from mom’s cab ride does not prove son was home alone

September 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded an undated taxi cab receipt that a LaPorte County man tried to offer as proof he did not participate in a robbery spree, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. 
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Workers’ comp not sole remedy against AT&T entity for fall causing injury

September 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A worker injured in a fall when she tripped on snow-covered legs of a construction sign placed near the AT&T building where she worked may proceed with a claim against one of the company’s corporate entities.
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Arbitrator’s unavailability will not stop arbitration from starting

September 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found an arbitration agreement’s “plain language” trumps a woman’s attempt to stop the alternative dispute resolution process.
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Lack of transcript limits review of fire damages award on appeal

September 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected an appeal seeking full compensation after an Allen County fire in large part because the appealing party included no transcript of the trial court proceedings.
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Justices: Meth arrest of man at rental storage unit violated Fourth Amendment

September 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction and 45-year sentence on a meth charge cannot stand because the police search at a rental storage unit that led to his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protections, a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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COA rules serving time at home same as serving time in prison

September 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case for a new sentencing order after a defendant successfully argued home detention counts as part of his executed sentence.  
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Tax Court rules against UPS reinsurer on case justices reversed, remanded

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
United Parcel Service and its reinsurance affiliates are obligated to pay about $650,000 in taxes from the years 2000 and 2001, the Indiana Tax Court held. The court previously ruled in UPS’s favor, but this opinion comes on remand from an Indiana Supreme Court reversal.
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Appeals court affirms judgment in family land-contract dispute

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly ruled that an insurance company owed no duty to a mother who sold property on contract to her son and daughter-in-law, but the son and daughter-in-law who collected proceeds from the policy do.
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Bridge complaint raises questions about governmental immunity

September 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed conflicting caselaw about a government’s immunity from liability before siding with the older precedent and ruling that any move to overturn that case should be left to the Indiana Supreme Court. 
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Attorney fees affirmed in trucking dispute; COA declines to bar such awards

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
An appellate panel Tuesday affirmed an award of attorney fees under a standard industry agreement and declined an invitation to strip Indiana trial courts of the ability to enter such judgments.
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Instructions not to letter of the law, but no harm done

September 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s failure to give jury instructions that strictly adhered to the language contained in the Indiana Code and Indiana Jury Rule was not grounds for the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn a guilty verdict.
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Judge: Suit challenging Marion County judicial slating may proceed

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that has given rise to the Democratic and Republican slating system under which Marion Superior judges are elected will go forward.
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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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