Opinions

Opinions June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Keion Gaddie v. State of Indiana
49S02-1312-CR-789.
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, holding that I.C. 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), the statute defining the offense of resisting law enforcement by fleeing after being ordered to stop, must be construed to require that a law enforcement officer’s order to stop be based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause. On that basis, there was insufficient evidence against Gaddie to support the conviction.
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Opinions June 27, 2014

June 27, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
South Shore Baseball, LLC d/b/a Gary South Shore RailCats and Northwest Sports Venture, LLC v. Juanita DeJesus
45S03-1308-CT-531
Civil tort. Reverses trial court denial of a motion for summary judgment to the Railcats defendants in a case brought by a fan injured by a foul ball hit into the stands at a minor-league baseball game. Holding the defendants are entitled to summary judgment, remands to the trial court to enter judgment accordingly.

 
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Opinions June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Traci Nelson v. Tony Nelson
41A01-1309-DR-424
Domestic relation. Affirms order denying Traci Nelson’s motion to relocate and modifying custody of her child in favor of father Tony Nelson. Finds mother’s reasons for relocation were legitimate and in good faith and that the conclusion that the Relocation Statute factors disfavored relocation and merited a change in custody to father was not clearly erroneous.
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Opinions June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
The Speedway Public Library v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance
49T10-1103-TA-22
Tax. Affirms the Department of Local Government Finance’s final determination rejecting the appropriations and levies associated with the library’s 2011 budget and decision to reinstitute the appropriations and levies associated with the 2010 budget. Public notice of the town council’s Sept. 13 meeting was statutorily required.  
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Opinions June 24, 2014

June 24, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tyrone L. Jones v. Richard Brown
12-3245
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms denial of Jones’ petition for habeas relief. Finds his trial counsel was not constitutionally ineffective under Strickland. 
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Opinions June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Walbert Keith Farmer
13-3373
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Vacates conditions of supervised release that required Farmer to submit to certain searches at the request of his probation officer, even without a warrant or reasonable suspicion, and a ban on self-employment. These special conditions do not bear a reasonably direct relationship to Farmer’s underlying crimes of attempted extortion. Remands for further proceedings.
 
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Opinions June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
James Nichols v. Michigan City Plant Planning Department, Michigan City Area Schools
13-2893
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Michigan City schools on Nichols’ allegations of Title VII violations. He did not provide sufficient evidence that demonstrates that the harassment he allegedly suffered while working as a temporary janitor was severe or pervasive. He also failed to provide sufficient evidence that his alleged harasser was a proximate cause of his firing because affidavits from his supervisors show that he would have been let go even if there was no feud between Nichols and the harasser.
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Opinions June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Devon Groves v. United States of America
12-3253
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of Groves’ Section 2255 motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence of 240 months in prison for one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon. Finds Groves was provided with effective assistance of counsel.
 
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Opinions June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gabriel V. Mendoza v. United States of America
13-3195, 13-3196
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of Mendoza’s petition for relief from his drug convictions. He was not deprived due process when an interpreter relocated her position in the courtroom to translate for a witness nor was he provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions June 17, 2014

June 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cruisin', Inc., d/b/a Cruisin' Auto Sales v. Springleaf Financial Services of Indiana, Inc., f/k/a American General Financial Services
39A01-1309-CC-423
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of Springleaf. Finds Cruisin’ breached the terms of the contract by giving the title to the car buyer rather than mailing it to Springleaf. Remands to correct a scrivener’s error and enter the reimbursement amount at $2,659.02. Also remands to enter the judgment damage award against the dealership and buyer jointly and severally.
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Opinions June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
J.C. Jennings, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1310-CR-425
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony sexual battery.
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Opinions June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014
Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana
28S00-1305-LW-327
Criminal. Affirms in all respects the murder conviction and life without parole sentence for Randy L. Knapp in the killing of Stacey Lawson. The court rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony were improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and nature of his offense.
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Opinions June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Gabriel McQuay v. State of Indiana
49A02-1311-CR-954
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony criminal confinement and Class A misdemeanor battery. Under an objective analysis, the circumstances of the encounter as well as the statements and actions of R.S. and Officer Travis Williams indicate that the primary purpose of the interrogation was to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. As such, R.S.’s identification of herself and McQuay were not testimonial statements. The Confrontation Clause did not bar their admission at McQuay’s trial.
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Opinions June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014
Shannon Robinson and Bryan Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange
49S02-1311-PL-733
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Erie Insurance on the issue of whether its automobile policy provided uninsured motorists coverage for automobile property damaged caused by a hit-and-run driver where no personal injury resulted. Because personal injury did not result in the accident, the Erie policy does not provide uninsured motorist coverage with respect to the property damage sustained by the Robinsons’ vehicle.
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Opinions June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Grandberry v. Brian Smith, superintendent, Plainfield Correctional Facility
12-2081
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses discipline and revocation of 30 days of Grandberry’s good-time credits for unauthorized use of an electronic device. Remands with instructions to issue a writ of habeas corpus restoring Grandberry’s good-time credits. Library staff asked him to use the computer to fill out forms that he was not supposed to complete as head inmate law clerk.
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Opinions June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Matthew Whitfield v. International Truck and Engine Corp.
13-1876
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms in part and reverses in part ruling in favor of International Truck and Engine Corp. on Whitfield’s action alleging discrimination in failure to hire and violations of the Civil Rights Act. The District Court ignored some evidence or made conclusions not supported by the evidence. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions June 6, 2014

June 6, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of Labor ex rel Vincent Scialdone and Antimo Scialdone v. An Island, LLC (NFP)
62A01-1312-PL-548
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court decision to not order An Island LLC to pay any 2010 wages to Antimo or Vincent Scialdone and to not award the plaintiffs attorney fees.
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Opinions June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Jaklin Idris and Dariana Kamenova v. Marion County Assessor
49T10-1108-TA-49
Tax. Finds the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err in upholding the 2006 assessment of Idris’ and Kamenova’s condominium unit. Rejects their claims the board abused its discretion in finding that Kamenova failed to establish that their property was entitled to an obsolescence adjustment, and in determining that the assessments of the three other units in their building failed to show that their property was over-assessed; and that the board erred in upholding their assessment given the assessor’s improper use of the “one unit multiple units” classification.
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Opinions June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014
Lori Nicklas v. Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber; and Von Tobel Lumber Company, Inc.
64A03-1310-CC-429
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Von Tobel Corp. and the denial of Nicklas’ motion for summary judgment on the company’s action to recover money owed on a promissory note executed by Nicklas and her husband. An agreed judgment against one obligor does not merge and extinguish the obligation of another person jointly and severally liable on the same contract, so Van Tobel was free to seek a judgment against Lori Nicklas after an agreed judgment with Shawn Nicklas had been entered.
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Opinions June 3, 2014

June 3, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Virginia E. Alldredge and Julia A. Luker, as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Venita Hargis v. The Good Samaritan Home, Inc.
82S01-1305-CT-363
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment, holding that a wrongful death claim against Good Samaritan may proceed. Holds that the Fraudulent Concealment Statute may apply to the Wrongful Death Act’s two-year filing period. Remands for proceedings.
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Opinions June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Brummett v. State of Indiana
49A02-1304-CR-378
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B and Class C felony child molesting and three counts of Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor. The panel found the prosecutor’s continual misconduct constituted fundamental error that placed Brummett in grave peril. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Paternity of V.A., (Minor Child), R.A. v. B.Y.
39A04-1310-JP-512
Juvenile. Affirms a special judge’s ruling that the judge who heard evidence remanded to the trial court from an earlier appeal should rule on the remanded issues, as required by Trial Rule 63(A). The panel rejected father R.A.’s objection claiming that his change-of-judge request trumps that rule, finding that the change-of-judge rule only applies prospectively, while Rule 63(A) operates retroactively to ensure that the remanded issues are considered by the judge who heard the evidence.
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Opinions May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Stacy Smith and Robert Smith, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Johnny Dupree Smith, Deceased v. Delta Tau Delta, Inc. and Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, et al.
54S01-1405-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of national fraternity Delta Tau Delta on the Smiths’ wrongful death complaint. There is no designated evidentiary material that shows that the national fraternity had a right to exercise direct day-to-day oversight and control of the behavior of the activities of the local fraternity and its members. Concludes as a matter of law that an agency relationship does not exist between the national fraternity and the local fraternity or its members.
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Opinions May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Bunn v. Khoury Enterprises Inc.
13-2292
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Bunn’s former employer, a Dairy Queen franchise, on his claims that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bunn’s failure-to-accommodate claim falls short because his employer did reasonably accommodate his disability. His disparate treatment claim fails because he has not introduced sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of material fact and because the undisputed facts show that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
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Opinions May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Alden v. State of Indiana
30A05-1309-MI-463
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of motion to prohibit the release of Alden’s criminal record. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion on the basis that the Legislature had repealed I.C. 35-38-8-3. Remands for the trial court to consider the merits of his motion.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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