Indiana Court of Appeals

Recommendation of plea document passes ‘duck test’

July 21, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Citing the “duck test” credited to Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a “recommendation of plea” document was a plea agreement the trial judge was free to accept or reject.
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Judges affirm grant of senior living facility’s arbitration motion

July 21, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Although a senior living facility “inexplicably” failed to keep a copy of an arbitration agreement signed by a resident, the facility produced enough extrinsic evidence to conclude an enforceable arbitration agreement exists, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA: Woman, not bank, entitled to foreclosure surplus funds

July 21, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court misapplied the law regarding disbursement of surplus sale proceedings from a sheriff’s sale when it ordered the full surplus to the bank that owned the first mortgage on the home, the Indiana Court of Appeals held. The law requires the surplus to go to the mortgage debtor.
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DCS agrees more caseworkers needed, argues against suit

July 20, 2016
Indiana’s Legislature and governor have failed to provide resources to ensure sufficient case managers to protect children and families, a lawyer representing the Department of Child Services told the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. But she argued a caseworker’s lawsuit against the agency was the wrong way to enforce state law requiring those workers have no more than 17 cases each.
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On rehearing, judges find investigator’s photos admissible

July 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted rehearing to a case involving a lawsuit brought by a man injured by a sheriff deputy’s vehicle while he walked along the side of the road. The divided court held certain evidence, including an investigator’s affidavit and photos, are admissible at trial.
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COA: School’s insurance doesn’t cover student who injured teacher

July 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Although the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed with parts of a trial court’s ruling in an insurance coverage dispute, the judges affirmed the ruling that the insurance policy of a school where a student injured her teacher during class is not the primary insurance in the teacher’s personal injury suit.
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Website set up for COA judges facing retention vote

July 18, 2016
IL Staff
Indiana’s state courts have established a website with information about four Indiana Court of Appeals judges facing retention on the November ballot.
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COA affirms propane company must pay customers’ attorney fees

July 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial court that a propane company is on the hook for two customers’ attorney fees after it failed to deliver prepaid propane gas under an agreement with the couple.
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Judges uphold teen’s 40-year sentence for brutal attack on homeowner

July 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A Grant County teen who participated in the rape of a homeowner during his burglary of her home deserves the 40-year sentence imposed in adult court, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Senior judge faces discipline case for OWI, alleged cover-up bid

July 15, 2016
Dave Stafford
Indiana Court of Appeals Senior Judge William Garrard will face judicial discipline proceedings after driving drunk in Mooresville last November, colliding with a car and later asking a policeman at the hospital to forget about it.
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Church not entitled to $322,000 on breach of contract claim

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it determined that a church was entitled to $322,000 on its breach of contract claim after its building lessor ordered the church to vacate the premises before the end of its contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Doctor’s criminal charges provide 2 first impression issues

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide two issues of first impression Thursday in an appeal regarding charges of reckless homicide and issuing an invalid prescription for legend drugs by a practitioner against an Indianapolis doctor.
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COA: Law doesn’t require insurer to provide UIM coverage

July 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred by denying an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment regarding underinsured motorist coverage because a law change in 2005 no longer required it to provide that coverage.
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COA won’t rehear injured immigrant worker’s case

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals will not revisit its divided ruling that an injured masonry laborer’s immigration status is valid evidence in his lawsuit against the general contractor at his worksite.
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COA orders new trial on vicarious liability issue

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A new jury will decide whether a Sony employee in Terre Haute was acting in the scope of his employment when he hit a security guard on the property while driving to recycle personal items on company property.
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Evidence supports order to raze uninhabited home

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Grant County Area Plan Commission provided enough evidence to support the trial court’s decision to order a home torn down because it is not up to code and is uninhabitable, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Trial court properly reinstated demoted police officer’s rank

July 13, 2016
 Associated Press
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that a judge could order a police officer’s rank returned to sergeant instead of sending the matter back to the police merit board for further proceedings.
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COA: Plea agreement doesn’t prevent court from considering certain evidence

July 13, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A Greensburg father who pleaded guilty to felony dangerous control of a child after his young son accidently shot his future stepbrother lost his claim before the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court shouldn’t have considered evidence relating to a dismissed charge.
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Brutal Indy home invasion leader gets sentence tweak

July 12, 2016
Dave Stafford
The alleged ringleader of six men who brutalized, shot and sexually assaulted three north side Indianapolis residents in their home will still likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after the Indiana Court of Appeals modestly reduced his sentence Tuesday.
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Power of attorney may trump guardianship order

July 12, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
An elaborate court ruling that sought to bring family harmony by appointing each of six siblings as co-guardians over a specific area of their elderly mother’s life may have hit a sour note because of a 12-year-old power of attorney which remains valid.
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Plea agreement provision ‘constitutionally suspect,’ COA finds

July 8, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A man who had taken steps to prepare for home detention but was committed for mental health reasons when he was to report to community corrections should not have been ordered to serve his sentence in the Department of Correction, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Continuous crime doctrine requires reversal of 2 domestic battery convictions

July 8, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Because the evidence showed a man’s acts of domestic violence against his now ex-wife constituted a single transaction for purposes of the continuing crime doctrine, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed two of the man’s three convictions.
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Unlicensed social worker must answer accused molester’s questions

July 6, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that an unlicensed social worker who provided services to the victim of a man accused of molestation is not protected under the counselor/client privilege in I.C. 25-23.6-6.1. As a result, the woman must answer four questions her attorney previously advised her not to answer.
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COA affirms excess damages award in med-mal case

July 5, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the evidence before it, a trial court correctly awarded a man $300,000 in excess damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund after an Indianapolis hospital missed the signs he was having a stroke, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Robber’s use of debit card is forgery, COA affirms

July 1, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that he couldn’t be convicted of forgery under Indiana law because using his robbery victims’ ATM cards did not qualify as “uttering a written instrument.”
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