Indiana Court of Appeals

COA: Attorney’s calendar mistake doesn’t support relief from judgment

September 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed with a woman’s argument that because she was twice granted extension of time to respond to a summary judgment motion involving her credit card debt, the trial court’s discretion to consider a belated response was preserved.
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COA denies State Farm’s request for new trial on $14.5M defamation verdict

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The $14.5 million defamation verdict awarded against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. in favor of a contractor who accused the insurer of defaming him remains in place after the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the company’s claim that fraud requires a new trial.
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State’s inaction does not allow man to appeal sentence

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that he should be given an opportunity to appeal his sentence, an option he waived by entering into a plea agreement, even though the trial court erroneously indicated he had a right to appeal and the state did not object to that advisement.
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Court must give man time to object to ex-wife’s motion

September 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior Court erred when it granted a woman’s motion to vacate a hearing on contempt charges against her without giving her ex-husband 15 days to file a response, as permitted under local rules, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Felony murder convictions upheld in Elkhart home invasion, but sentences amended

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The appeals of three teens involved in a daytime home invasion that turned fatal gave the Court of Appeals a chance to examine the felony murder statute and its application for juveniles.
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COA affirms stripping ‘helicopter mom’ of custody of teen son

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The decision to modify custody to give a father sole legal and physical custody of his 15-year-old son was not clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In affirming the decision, the judges noted that the mother is overbearing and has forced the teen to participate in activities he has little interest in.
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Father granted custody after mother seeks relocation

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Moving from Floyd County to Scott County so a woman could be closer to her work and live with her boyfriend is not in the best interests of her two young children, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The judges affirmed the grant of father’s request to modify custody and child support.
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Omitted information in notice does not bar entry of summary judgment

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Failure in a notice of dissolution to describe information that must be included in a claim filed against the company does not make the notice invalid, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. Since the notice was valid, a convenience store owner’s lawsuit is time-barred. 
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Judges affirm convictions in fatal home invasion

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The state presented sufficient evidence to support a man’s conviction of robbery, which was based on a theory of accomplice liability, the Court of Appeals ruled. The charge stems from a home invasion in St. Joseph County during a family gathering.
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Court declines to review drug sentence based on new criminal code

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to dealing in oxycodone couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his sentence should be reconsidered based on the revised criminal code that took effect July 1.
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Court must hold hearing on injunction involving medical practice

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s assessment of the public interest regarding whether a doctor is prohibited under a noncompete agreement to practice within 25 miles of his former office in Rensselaer was contrary to law, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The judges reversed the denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing the doctor from opening a new practice next door to his previous one.
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COA orders judgment in favor of Lapel in annexation lawsuit

September 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The city of Anderson does not meet the requirements to bring a declaratory judgment action to challenge the town of Lapel’s annexation of land in Madison County that Anderson once considered annexing.
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Appeals court reverses suppression of polygraph in molestation case

September 9, 2014
Dave Stafford
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday reversed a trial court order suppressing results of a polygraph test against a man who later was charged with child molestation.
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Award of attorney fees reversed in child-support dispute

September 9, 2014
Dave Stafford
The ex-wife in a child-support dispute was improperly awarded a portion of her attorney fees after the trial court rejected her ex-husband’s petition to modify child support.
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Denial of mortgage lender’s license is within state’s authority, COA rules

September 8, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals found the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions had the authority to deny a mortgage lender originator’s license to an applicant who has a criminal record. 
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Appeals court reverses summary judgment in freezing-fog fall

September 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
A medical worker who sued her employer after slipping and falling in a parking lot made slick by freezing fog may proceed with her lawsuit, a divided Court of Appeals panel ruled, reversing summary judgment in favor of a Richmond hospital.
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Appeals court bounces IURC ruling favoring Duke on Edwardsport plant

September 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission failed to comply with laws and regulations when it approved an order allowing Duke Energy to pass along to ratepayers certain construction costs for the $3 billion Edwardsport coal gasification plant in Knox County.
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ICRC has jurisdiction in basketball race discrimination case

September 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission has jurisdiction in a racial discrimination claim brought by a former basketball player against Cardinal Ritter High School, but the ICRC dropped the ball in the case, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Summary judgment affirmed in hysterectomy med-mal case

September 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday affirmed summary judgment in favor of health care providers in a lawsuit brought by a woman claiming doctors did not obtain informed consent before performing a hysterectomy.
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Appeals court reversal reunites mother and children

September 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Grant County trial court abused its discretion in ordering the appointment of guardians for two children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, reversing a guardianship order and instructing the trial court to reunite the children with their mother.
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Bike rider loses 'no duty to stop' argument in resisting appeal

September 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
A bicycle rider convicted by a jury of resisting law enforcement lost his appeal Friday on his argument that he had no duty to stop after an Indianapolis police officer tripped his siren and followed him in his cruiser.
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COA splits on reversal of child molesting conviction

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Thursday over whether a man’s Class A felony child molesting conviction should be overturned. The dissenting judge believed any error by the trial court was harmless, so the conviction should stand.
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COA re-evaluates public intox opinion in light of Thang, but still affirms

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Supreme Court decision regarding public intoxication has impacted a decision issued by the Court of Appeals three weeks earlier, but the judges still concluded a woman’s public intoxication conviction cannot stand.
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Defendant loses on ineffective counsel claim

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant did not show that he was denied the effective assistance of appellate counsel, so the court correctly denied his petition for post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man cannot collect uninsured motorist coverage after accident on motorcycle

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle cannot collect under his insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges rejected his claim that the exclusion of motorcycles violates public policy.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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