Opinions

Opinions April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Stephen F. Smith v. Foegley Landscape, Inc.
71A03-1405-SC-169
Small Claims. Affirms judgment in favor of Foegley Landscape but reverses $1,500 award for attorney fees. Finds the small claims court did not have any documentation to properly evaluate the reasonableness of the fees. Remands to the small claims court to hold a hearing and determine the reasonable attorney fees.
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Opinions April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angelique Lockett and Lanetra Lockett v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc., and Cathy McGee
45A05-1407-CT-340
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood on a malpractice claim, but remands to the trial court to correct the order of judgment for defendants to show that McGee, who provided identification to a 17-year-old to obtain an abortion without parental consent, is not dismissed as a defendant.
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Opinions April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Satterfield v. State of Indiana
49A02-1409-CR-659
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to let bail following Satterfield’s arrest and charge for murder. Although Statterfield forfeited his right to appeal by not filing the notice of appeal within 30 days of the trial court order, the COA concluded his appeal deserves a determination on the merits. Remands for new hearing so Satterfield can present evidence of self-defense.
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Opinions April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015
Joseph E. Corcoran v. Ron Neal, superintendent
13-1318
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms denial of writ for federal habeas relief from death penalty. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the trial judge did not rely on nonstatutory aggravating factors, and that determination was not unreasonable. The Supreme Court also reasonably determined that the trial judge considered all proffered evidence in mitigation.
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Opinions April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Think Tank Software Development Corp., d/b/a Think Tank Networking Tech. Group and Think Tank Info. Systems v. Chester, Inc., Mike Heinhold, John Mario, Joel Parker, Thomas Guelinas, et al.
64A03-1404-PL-134
Civil plenary. Affirms directed verdict in favor of Chester Inc. and other defendants on Think Tank’s claim for misappropriation of trade secrets. Also finds the trial court correctly determined that Think Tank’s non-solicitation claim was barred.
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Opinions April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Israel Munoz v. Jerome Woroszylo
79A02-1409-CT-679
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Munoz’s motion to dismiss Woroszylo’s lawsuit stemming from a car accident filed in Tippecanoe County after the case was dismissed from Illinois federal court for lack of personal jurisdiction. There is no intent that Worosyzlo filed his suit in Illinois with intent to abuse judicial process or create undue delay and his decision to file in Indiana state court is allowed under the Journey’s Account Statute.
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Opinions April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
ESPN Productions, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1312-TA-76
Tax. Grants in part and denies in part ESPN’s request to place certain documents within the judicial record under seal. Holds that the tax returns, production services agreement, and cable television license agreements submitted by the company as designated evidence in support of its motion for summary judgment are protected from public disclosure under both Access to Public Records Act and Administrative Rule 9(G)(2). That protection does not extend to ESPN’s supplement to protest.
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Opinions April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Cohen & Malad, LLP v. John P. Daly, Jr., Golitko & Daly, P.C., and Golitko Legal Group, P.C.
29S02-1504-PL-165
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of quantum meruit relief to Cohen & Malad for part of the contingent fees earned in cases that where first handled by C&M attorneys and later by Daly and his firm after he left C&M.
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Opinions April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Mark Bozovich
14-1435
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of conspiracy to distribute heroin and 235-month prison sentence. The District judge made a clear credibility finding and otherwise carefully scrutinized the drug quantity evidence. Finds that by testifying on direct about his heroin purchasing habits and motives for his purchases, Bozovich opened himself up for cross-examination as to those topics.
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Opinions April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Glenn Sciaraffa v. State of Indiana
09A04-1410-CR-470
Criminal. Affirms conviction for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor; and an adjudication as a habitual substance offender. Finds no fundamental error occurred during the admission of presumptive positive test and rules the state’s closing arguments fell within the bounds of prosecutorial advocacy. Also holds the state presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain Sciaraffa’s conviction for dealing in methamphetamine.
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Opinions April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Demetrius L. Grant, and Vickie O. Grant v. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co.
49A05-1404-MF-139
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses and remands a grant of summary judgment in favor of Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., and remands with instructions to dismiss the case. By refiling a suit that had been dismissed under Trial Rule 41(E) for failing to prosecute, the bank violated the rule and the doctrine of res judicata, since dismissal under T.R. 41(E), unless otherwise specified, operates as a judgment on the merits and dismissal with prejudice. 
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Opinions April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Nicholas A. Rushlow v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A03-1408-CR-310
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class A felony attempted murder and Class C felony criminal recklessness.
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Opinions April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015
United States of America v. Christian J. Miller, Frank Jordan, and Joshua N. Bowser
14-1237, 14-1585, and 14-1592
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms judgments against defendants for various criminal charges, including wire fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Bowser’s case is remanded for further consideration of the term of his supervised release authorizing suspicionless searches.
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Opinions March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Berthal O. Williams and Patricia Williams v. The Indiana Rail Road Company
77A04-1311-CC-580
Civil collection. Reverses summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Rail Road Company on the Williamses’ attempt to enforce a 1901 indenture regarding a dam on their property. Concludes the indenture was a covenant running with the land, that the terms set forth in the indenture required IRR to maintain the dam and the water level at a specific depth, and that it contained a covenant, perpetual in nature, that did not cease upon a prior breach. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re: Indiana State Fair Litigation: Polet, et al. v. Mid-America Sound, et. al.
49A02-1404-CT-288
Civil tort. Majority reverses trial court order granting summary judgment in favor of the Indiana State Fair Commission on Mid-America Sound’s claim that its contract requires the commission to indemnify it against claims from the 2011 State Fair stage collapse that killed and injured patrons. The majority held the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not apply and there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the validity and enforceability of the indemnification agreement. Remands for trial. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented and would find the commission has immunity from Mid-America’s claims and that the Tort Claims Act applies.
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Opinions March 27, 2015

March 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jimmy Wallen, Jr. v. State of Indiana

79A02-1407-CR-469
Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, a Class D felony. Splits over question of whether jury instruction invaded the role of the jury by presuming the state had established Wallen knowingly intended to deprive Walmart of its property. Finds jury instruction error harmless because the jury could have concluded from the evidence alone that Wallen had shoplifted.
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Opinions March 26, 2015

March 26, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
First American Title Insurance Company v. Stephen W. Robertson, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Ind., in his Official Capacity, on Behalf of the Ind. Dept. of Insurance
49S04-1311-PL-732
Civil plenary. Grants rehearing to delete the first clause in third footnote. Agreed its reversal of the denial to dismiss First American’s petition appears to be inconsistent with its affirming the concerns about the timeliness of the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance’s hearing order and First American’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

 
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Opinions March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Dustin E. McCowan v. State of Indiana
64S03-1408-CR-516
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction, finding that a proposed jury instruction rejected by the judge regarding presumption of innocence had been sufficiently covered by other jury instructions and proceedings. States that prospectively, it is the absolute right of every criminal defendant to receive the following jury instruction, if requested: “The presumption of innocence continues in favor of the defendant throughout the trial. You should fit the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent if you can reasonably do so.”
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Opinions March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Drakkar R. Willis v. State of Indiana
49S02-1410-CR-617
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass, finding the evidence insufficient to sustain the conviction.
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Opinions March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerome Seward v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1408-CR-567
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder but vacates the convictions and sentences for  reckless homicide and battery, which placed him in double jeopardy. The aggregate 62-year sentence remains because sentences for the vacated offenses were to be served concurrently.
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Opinions March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Dennis Alan Howell
94S00-1405-CQ-321
Certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Determines that spouses and children need not be the debtor’s dependents for policy exemptions to apply in life insurance policies involved in a bankruptcy estate.
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Opinions March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission v. Lebamoff Enterprises, Inc.
49A02-1408-MI-529
Miscellaneous. Reinstates and affirms the ATC’s final order sanctioning Lebamoff Enterprises for using a common carrier to deliver alcohol to customers. ATC’s interpretation of the relevant statutory authority was reasonable and its order did not reflect an improper attempt to create an agency rule, but rather was a proper exercise of the ATC’s adjudicatory function. Remands with instructions.
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Opinions March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Ball State University v. Jennifer Irons; In Re the Marriage of: Jennifer Irons and Scott Irons
45S03-1503-DR-134
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s order granting mother’s motion to join supplemental defendant, Ball State, and order release of transcript. Mother has not carried her burden in demonstrating that Ball State was a necessary party under Trial Rule 19. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate order dismissing Ball State from this action.
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Opinions March 17, 2015

March 17, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
Blue Chip Casino, LLC v. LaPorte County Treasurer, and LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau
49T10-1008-TA-37
Tax. Dismisses the casino’s appeal of the LaPorte County treasurer’s failure to respond to its request for a refund of innkeeper’s tax that it paid to the treasurer between January 2007 and August 2009 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. All pending motions are hereby deemed moot.
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Opinions March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Redevelopment Commission of the Town of Munster, Indiana v. Indiana State Board of Accounts and Paul D. Joyce, State Examiner of State Board of Accounts
45A04-1408-PL-404
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the state Board of Accounts. Holds the commission had standing to bring its declaratory judgment and the trial court did not err in determining that Indiana statute does not permit the use of TIF funds for the continued maintenance of completed redevelopment projects.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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