Opinions

Opinions Feb. 8, 2017

February 8, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
City of Lawrence Utilities Service Board, City of Lawrence, Indiana, and Mayor Dean Jessup, Individually and in his Official Capacity v. Carlton E. Curry
49S02-1609-CT-481
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Carlton Curry on his wrongful discharge claim and in favor of the city of Lawrence on Curry’s Wage Payment Statute claim. Also affirms the denial of Curry’s tortious interference claim. Finds that based on the clear and unambiguous language of Indiana Code 8-1.5-3-5(d), the Utilities Service Board had the sole authority to terminate Curry after notice and a hearing. Also finds that any other method for termination is up to the Legislature to determine as a matter of policy. Justice Steve David dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2017

February 7, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: The Matter of D.J. and G.J., Children in Need of Services; Gr.J. (Mother) and J.J. (Father) v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services

02S03-1610-JC-548
Juvenile. Reverses the Allen Superior Court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J.’s two minor children, D.J. and G.J., were children in need of services. Finds the record does not support the trial court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J. needed the court’s coercive intervention to provide for their boys’ needs at the time of the dispositional hearing. Exercises the Indiana Supreme Court’s discretion to decide the parents’ case on its merits, despite their forfeited appeal.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2017

February 6, 2017
Indiana Tax Court
The University of Phoenix, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1411-TA-65
Tax. Grants in part the University of Phoenix, Inc.’s motion with respect to the previously withheld documentation regarding House Bill 1349 and orders the Indiana Department of State Revenue to provide the documentation to the University within seven days. Denies the university’s motion with respect to all other matters regarding HB 1349, the report, the presentation and the designation of another 30(B)(6) witness.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2017

February 3, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Abel Covarrubias
16-3402
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms the district court’s denial of Abel Covarrubias’ motion to suppress drugs found in a car being delivered to him from across the country. Finds that the district court correctly decided that Covarrubias lacked standing to contest the admission of the drugs into evidence.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2017

February 2, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rachel Neal v. IAB Financial Bank, f/k/a Grabill Bank
02A03-1604-CT-1002
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of IAB Financial Bank. Finds because all three Webb factors lean against imposing a duty here, the Allen Superior Court did not err in concluding the bank owed no duty to Neal.

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Opinions Feb. 1, 2017

February 1, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Menard, Inc. v. Reba Lane
45A03-1606-CT-1283
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of Menard Inc.’s motion to set aside the default judgment entered in favor of Reba Lane when Menard failed to appear or defend itself against her personal injury suit. Finds the Lake Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Menard’s motion. Also finds Lane attempted service of her compliant and summons in multiple ways, all of which conformed with the requirements of the Indiana Trial Rules and that Lane’s attorney did not engage in misconduct when she did not notify the two law firms who had represented Menard in the past. Finally, finds that the breakdown in communication between Menard employees regarding the summons and complaint was not excusable neglect.
 
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2017

January 31, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of William A. Miller, by its representatives Patrick T. Chassie and Linda Wilkerson v. Helen J. Marberry and Gary Rogers.

15-1497.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Prisoner. Affirms the grant of summary judgment to Helen Marberry and Gary Rogers. Judge Richard Posner dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2017

January 30, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legato Vapors, LLC, et al and Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition, Inc. v. David Cook, et al
16-3071
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the judgment of the district court dismissing the case. Remands with instructions to enjoin enforcement of the challenged provisions of the Vapor Pens and E-Liquids Act against the plaintiffs and to declare the challenged provisions unenforceable against out-of-state manufacturers. Finds that Indiana may not try to achieve health and safety goals by directly regulating out-of-state factories and commercial transactions. Also finds that as applied to out-of-state manufacturers, the challenged provisions of the act violate the dormant Commerce Clause prohibition against extraterritorial legislation.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2017

January 27, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lana Canen v. Dennis Chapman, in his individual capacity as Deputy for the Elkhart County Sheriff Department
16-1621
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana’s dismissal of Lana Canen’s case at summary judgment on the grounds that Dennis Chapman was entitled to qualified immunity. Finds that Detective Chapman's failure to disclose that he was not trained as a latent print examiner cannot be characterized as a violation of any clearly established right and, accordingly, the doctrine of qualified immunity protects him. Also finds that to the degree that this action is premised on the preparation or presentation of his trial testimony, absolute immunity protects Chapman.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2017

January 26, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Demajio Ellis v. State of Indiana
71S05-1606-PC-360
Post-conviction. Reverses the denial of Demajio Ellis’ post-conviction relief. Finds that Ellis’ guilty plea to four Class A felony offenses was invalid because at the time he entered the plea, he also professed his innocence.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2017

January 25, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rollie M. Mitchell v. United States of America
14-3759
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms the denial of Rollie Mitchell’s motion for post-conviction review. Finds that Bruce Brattain did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2017

January 24, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Narles W. Coleman
98S00-1301-DI-52
Disciplinary. Suspends Narles W. Coleman from the practice of law in Indiana for at least two years without automatic reinstatement. Finds Coleman engaged in numerous acts of attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and subsequent civil suit against that client and by committing domestic battery against his wife.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2017

January 23, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
GHPE Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical v. Jason Huxley
49A02-1601-PL-164
Civil plenary. Affirms the Marion Superior Court damages award on Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical’s counterclaim and its refusal to award treble damages or attorney fees to Godby. Reverses the trial court’s award of $972.71 in base wages to Jason Huxley, as well as the doubling of that amount as liquidated damages. Remands for calculation of the wages to which Huxley is entitled after consideration of mandatory tax withholding only. Also remands for recalculation of the reasonable appellate attorney fees to which Huxley is entitled with respect to defending the Wage Payment Act judgment only.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2017

January 20, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin T. Williams v. Unifund CCR, LLC
71A04-1604-CC-901
Civil collection. Reverses the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s judgment in favor of Unifund CCR LLC on Unifund’s complaint against Kevin T. Williams for nonpayment of credit card debt. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in entering judgment in favor of Unifund.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2017

January 19, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dermatology Associates, P.C. and Sonya Campbell Johnson, M.D. v. Elizabeth C. White v. Commissioner of Indiana Department of Insurance, and Douglas J. Hill, Esq., Medical Review Panel Chair
49A02-1512-PL-2189
Civil plenary. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson at Dermatology Associates P.C.’s motion for summary judgment alleging Elizabeth White failed to timely file her claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Finds the statute of limitations bars White’s action and the providers are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Judge Paul Mathias dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2017

January 18, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Elberta N. Jackson v. State of Indiana
27A02-1607-CR-1717
Criminal. Affirms Elberta N. Jackson’s conviction for operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.15 as a Class A misdemeanor, resisting law enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct as a Class B misdemeanor. Finds that there is sufficient evidence to support Jackson’s conviction and that her due process rights were not violated.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2017

January 17, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: the Grandparent Visitation of G.S., J.S. v. M.S.
30A01-1608-DR-1801
Domestic relation. Reverses in part a Hancock Circuit Court order mandating G.S. be permitted to have contact with other paternal relatives when participating in grandparent visitation with M.S. Finds there is no statutory authority for a trial court to order a child to have visitation with anyone other than a grandparent in the face of a parent’s objections.

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Opinions Jan. 13, 2017

January 13, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rodney Tyms-Bey v. State of Indiana
49A05-1603-CR-439
Criminal. Affirms the trial court’s order granting the state’s motion to strike Rodney Tyms-Bey’s notice of defense under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Finds as a matter of law that the state’s compelling interest in a uniform and mandatory taxation system falls into the statutory exception such that RFRA affords no relief to Tyms-Bey. Remands for proceedings. Judge Edward Najam dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 12, 2017

January 12, 2017
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Merchandise Warehouse Co., Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue

49T10-1302
Tax. Grants summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of State Revenue and against Merchandise Warehouse Co., Inc. Finds that Merchandise Warehouse’s purchase of freezer equipment and electricity to power that equipment was not exempt from Indiana sales tax under Indiana Code 6-2.5-5-3 and 6-1.5-5-5.1. Also finds that Merchandise Warehouse does not produce other tangible personal property in an integrated production process when it freezes its customers’ food products.
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Opinions Jan. 11, 2017

January 11, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Stephen H. Perron and the United States Bankruptcy Trustee for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Christine M. Jackson v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A.
15-2206
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Chase Bank in ex-couple Perron and Jackson’s lawsuit claiming the bank’s response to a misapplied insurance payment, seeking more than $300,000 in damages, caused their divorce. To the extent that any requested information was missing, Perron and Jackson suffered no actual damages and thus have no viable claim, nor did the bank breach the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2017

January 10, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jacob Skipworth v. State of Indiana

49A02-1605-CR-973
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s decision to order Jacob Skipworth to complete 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling as a condition of his probation for his convictions of criminal confinement and strangulation, both Level 6 felonies. Finds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering domestic violence counseling. Also finds that the trial court’s sentencing order and abstract of judgment contain clerical errors. Remands with instructions to correct the clerical errors.
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Opinions Jan. 9, 2017

January 9, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Groth v. Mike Pence, as Governor of the State of Indiana

49A04-1605-PL-1116
Civil plenary.  Affirms the Marion Superior Court decision finding former Gov. Mike Pence’s response to William Groth’s Access to Public Records Act request for records related to his decision to join a Texas lawsuit against the President of the United States was proper under the Access to Public Records Act. Finds that Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana v. Koch, 51 N.E.3d 236 (Ind. 2016), does not apply to the request for public records directed to the governor. Also finds that the trial court did not violate Groth’s due process rights. Finally, affirms on the merits the governor’s decision to withhold the white paper from public disclosure and to partially redacted the invoices because the white paper contains legal theories in contemplation of litigation and that the governor’s redactions were within his discretion under APRA. Rejects Pence’s claim that executive privilege renders his response to APRA requests immune from judicial review. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik concurs in part and dissents in part in separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 6, 2017

January 6, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mario Deon Watkins v. State of Indiana
82A01-1510-CR-1624
Criminal. Reverses Mario Deon Watkins’ convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance as Class A misdemeanors, possession of cocaine as a Level 6 felony, possession of marijuana as a Class B misdemeanor and maintaining a common nuisance as a Level 6 felony. Finds that while there was a considerable degree of suspicion, the extent of law enforcement needs for a military-style assault was low and the degree of intrusion was unreasonably high. Judge Melissa May dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 3, 2017

January 3, 2017

Indiana Supreme Court
Kennedy Tank & MFG. Co., Inc., and Hemlock Semiconductor Operations LLC and Hemlock Semiconductor, LLC v. Emmert Industrial Corporation d/b/a Emmert International
49S02-1608-CT-431
Civil tort. Finds on an issue of first impression that Indiana’s 10-year statute of limitations is not preempted by the federal statute of limitations in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act. Finds that Congress’ purpose was not to preempt state statutes of limitations and that Indiana’s statute of limitations does not do major damage to the ICCTA’s deregulatory purpose. Thus, Emmert Industrial Corp.’s collection claim against Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Co. can proceed.

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Opinions Dec. 29, 2016

December 29, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Angela R. Neal v. State of Indiana
20A04-1606-CR-1326
Criminal. Affirms that the Elkhart Superior Court’s advisement of the consequences of Angela R. Neal’s status as a credit-restricted felon complied with Indiana Code 35-38-1-7.8(c). Finds there is no particular language that a trial court must use in order to comply with the statute.
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  1. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

  2. The Indiana DOE released the 2015-2016 school grades in Dec 2016 and my local elementary school is a "C" grade school. Look at the MCCSC boundary maps and how all of the most affluent neighborhoods have the best performance. It is no surprise that obtaining residency in the "A" school boundaries cost 1.5 to 3 times as much. As a parent I should have more options than my "C" school without needing to pay the premium to live in the affluent parts of town. If the charter were authorized by a non-religious school the plaintiffs would still be against it because it would still be taking per-pupil money from them. They are hiding behind the guise of religion as a basis for their argument when this is clearly all about money and nothing else.

  3. This is a horrible headline. The article is about challenging the ability of Grace College to serve as an authorizer. 7 Oaks is not a religiously affiliated school

  4. Congratulations to Judge Carmichael for making it to the final three! She is an outstanding Judge and the people of Indiana will benefit tremendously if/when she is chosen.

  5. The headline change to from "religious" to "religious-affiliated" is still inaccurate and terribly misleading.

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