Court opinions

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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7th Circuit: Man’s offense level for selling gun was properly increased

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the 60-month sentence imposed on a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a gun who sold the weapon to a man who was also prohibited from possessing a gun. The judges held that the District Court properly increased Darnell Jackson’s offense level because he committed separate offenses.
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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Court affirms 86-year-old uncle could consent to search

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his elderly uncle was a confused old man who was out of touch with reality and, therefore, unable to consent to a search of his home when police showed up looking to serve an arrest warrant. The search led to the arrest of the grandson on drug and weapons charges.
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Arguments rejected in juvenile molestation appeal

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An 11-year-old boy adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be Class B and Class C felony child molesting if committed by an adult failed to persuade a Court of Appeals panel Friday that statutes as applied to him are unconstitutionally vague and the evidence didn’t support a true finding.
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7th Circuit vacates child porn supervised-release condition

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a sentence for possession of child pornography Thursday that it ruled imposed an unconstitutionally vague condition of supervised release. The court affirmed, in the case, convictions of attempting to distribute heroin and illegal possession of a firearm.
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Man will receive surplus on sheriff’s sale credit bid

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals awarded a Grant County man nearly $375 after finding a surplus was owed to him when his property sold at a sheriff’s sale for more than what was calculated by the trial court based on an agreed judgment between the man and the bank.
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Judges rule in favor of daughter in payment dispute with nursing facility

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who signed a move-in agreement at a skilled nursing facility as a “responsible party/agent” for her mother was able to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals she should not be liable for money owed by her mother for care while at the facility.
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Judges affirm denial of credit time for man on electronic monitoring

January 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
After evaluating the statutory provisions concerning sentencing, electronic monitoring and deferral programs, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled it was within the trial court’s discretion to deny a man credit time toward his sentence for time he spent on electronic monitoring while participating in a drug court program.
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COA split over whether damages are punitive

January 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals released a divided opinion Wednesday on the issue of whether damages awarded under the Indiana Sales Representative Act are punitive in nature. The majority affirmed the trial court’s ruling that damages awarded under the Act would be subject to the evidentiary standard, limitation and diversion provisions of Indiana’s punitive damages statute.
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