Judge Patricia A. Riley

Court splits on duty owed by independent contractor

December 6, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues because he believed the majority’s ruling placed an “impossible burden” on contractors regarding whether a homebuyer was rightfully on the premises the day she was injured.
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Court affirms locked glove box search

November 9, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Without a case on point for the Indiana Court of Appeals to follow, the state’s second-highest appellate court has followed the direction of federal rulings and national precedent on allowing police to search locked glove boxes without a warrant.
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Court: team-building activity not under insured conditions

September 28, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed summary judgment in favor of an insurance company, noting a soccer team’s accident while traveling to an activity outside of the trip’s purpose was not covered.
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Judges split on district's need to pay for new water main

September 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a school district was required to pay for the installation of a new water main as opposed to privately putting in its own water service line to connect to a new school.
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COA reverses judgment on contract-rescission claim against lottery

September 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals will allow lottery scratch-off game players’ claim of contract rescission against the state’s lottery commission to proceed to trial, but the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the lottery on the other claims filed by the players in a class-action suit.
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Appeals court looks at revised law on sex-offense status

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case today with instructions to re-examine a case about a man’s disputed classification as a sexually violent predator.
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Majority affirms default judgment against Sears

August 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today as to whether a department store was entitled to have a default judgment set aside.
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Judge worries ruling may make bright-line rule in traffic stops

July 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges each wrote their own opinion on whether a police officer’s safety concerns were legitimate enough to allow the officer to search a car after a traffic stop.
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Medicaid applications review policy doesn't violate federal law

July 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An administrative law judge’s refusal to consider evidence of conditions that aren’t disclosed on a Medicaid disability application doesn’t violate federal law and the Due Process Clause, a majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Attorney fees not recoverable under adult wrongful death statute

July 20, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Indiana Court of Appeals today disagreed about an issue of first impression regarding recovery of attorney fees under the adult wrongful death statute.
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Judges affirm elevated drug convictions

June 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The state presented sufficient evidence to prove a defendant delivered and possessed methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex, so the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed elevating his convictions to a higher felony level.
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Attorney's fees can come from damages award

October 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Reasonable attorney's fees may be paid out of the damages award in a wrongful death action, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Court erred in ordering DCS to pay costs

September 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services isn't responsible for the costs of a minor's secure detention because it never entered into a written agreement with the juvenile court to cover the costs, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Court remands custody case for new hearing

September 24, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Although all three Indiana Court of Appeals judges came to conclusion that the trial court should revisit its order to grant full custody of a child to her abusive father, the judges differed as how the trial court should have approached the matter.
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Lawyer failed to deny note execution under oath

September 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because an attorney acting pro se in a mortgage suit didn't include a statement in his general denial that the denial was truthful and made under penalty for perjury, he failed to deny under oath the execution of the note, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Judges disagree on search validity

August 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
On remand from the Supreme Court of the United States to reconsider under a recent ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed the forfeiture of a woman's car following the arrest of her son for driving while suspended. One judge dissented because she believes the search of the vehicle was unreasonable in light of the recent ruling.
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Judges disagree if testimony is hypothetical

August 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed over whether two doctors' expert witness testimony in a medical malpractice case used hypothetical language that couldn't raise a genuine issue of fact.
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COA reverses small claims judgment

July 29, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

Court failed to include all assets in marital pot

July 29, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
For the second time in the same case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's division of assets in a marital dissolution because the trial court excluded from the marital pot the property the parties brought into marriage.
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Township assessor loses appeal

July 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a township assessor who filed a suit last year after the General Assembly enacted a bill that eliminated her office and transferred her duties to the county assessor.
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Court tackles scope of 'frivolous'

June 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today used an inmate's appeal of the dismissal of his complaint to address the scope of the word "frivolous" in Indiana's Frivolous Claim Law. And even though this inmate has filed dozens of law suits since being incarcerated, it doesn't mean his suits can be automatically deemed frivolous by the trial courts.
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Judges differ in ruling application in set-off case

May 21, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

COA clarifies emotional distress claims

May 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion today to clarify how to treat an independent action for emotional distress brought either in combination with the Wrongful Death Statute or as part of the Medical Malpractice Act.
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BMV policy needed to prevent identity theft

May 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The inconvenience of a few Hoosiers outweighs the very real threat of identity theft, so the trial court was correct in denying a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Motor Vehicle's verification of records using Social Security Administration data, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Moving chattel for suit doesn't establish venue

March 19, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In its opinion today regarding a breach of warranty case, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to define for the first time what "regularly located or kept" meant for purposes of Indiana Trial Rule 75(A)(2).
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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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