Opinions

Opinions Dec. 30, 2013

December 30, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rico Nathaniel Morst v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1305-CR-226
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Morst’s probation.
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Opinions Dec. 27, 2013

December 27, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dawn Marie Adams v. James Gregory Adams
13-1636
Civil. Reverses District Court denial of creditor Dawn Marie Adams’ bankruptcy court claim against her former husband and business partner, James Gregory Adams. The bankruptcy court claims were previously adjudicated in state courts and the doctrine of issue preclusion prevented the bankruptcy court from rehearing those issues. Remanded for proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 26, 2013

December 26, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry Donald Rutledge v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A05-1302-CR-70
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder.
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Opinions Dec. 24, 2013

December 24, 2013
There are no opinions Dec. 24 due to the courts being closed.
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Opinions Dec. 23, 2013

December 23, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael W. Peters, M.D. and Deaconess Hospital, Inc. v. Cynthia S. Kendall and Michael J. Kendall
82A01-1302-PL-55
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the medical group’s motion for partial summary judgment in the medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the Kendalls. The proof of claim filed by the Kendalls in the liquidation proceedings of Dr. Peters’ insurer does not constitute a binding contract.
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Opinions Dec. 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael E. Garcia v. Carolyn W. Colvin
13-2120
Civil. Reverses the Social Security Administration’s denial of disability benefits for Michael E. Garcia, finding that the denial was riddled with error and that the record shows Garcia is among the most seriously disabled applicants for disability the Circuit Court has encountered. Remands to the Social Security Administration for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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Opinions Dec. 19, 2013

December 19, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Tyrice J. Halliburton v. State of Indiana
20S00-1206-LW-560
Life without parole. Affirms murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. The trial court did not err in admitting certain evidence. Concludes the trial court committed no error, let alone fundamental error, by admitting photographs into evidence. Finds the court’s limiting instruction was erroneous, but Halliburton made no claim that the error was fundamental and no such fundamental error occurred.
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Opinions Dec. 18, 2013

December 18, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ralph Stockton v. Falls Auctioneers and Realtors and Peggy Buck as Trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust
18A05-1304-CT-160
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Peggy Buck as trustee of the Peggy Buck Trust on Stockon’s negligence suit. There are questions of fact regarding whether Stockton’s fall was caused in part by the length of the grass and whether Buck controlled the length of the grass. It cannot be said as a matter of law that Buck owed no duty to Stockton and Buck was not entitled to summary judgment on this basis. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 17, 2013

December 17, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Gas Company, Inc. and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company, et al v. Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC
93S02-1306-EX-407
Agency action. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a contract between Indiana Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification, LLC that obligates the state to purchase synthetic natural gas that would be produced at a coal-gasification plant in Rockport. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals had invalidated the contract, but justices agreed that the IURC’s decision should be affirmed because the parties modified the disputed portion of the contract.
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Opinions Dec. 16, 2013

December 16, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Avon Trails Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Kellie Homeier
32A01-1307-PL-312
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of a temporary injunction that would have allowed Avon Trails to enforce a restrictive covenant barring Homeier from parking a trailer on her lot or an adjacent lot. Remands to the trial court with orders to adopt settlement language the parties submitted as a joint motion to vacate findings and submission of agreed entry of judgment.
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Opinions Dec. 13, 2013

December 13, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Everitt Dickey v. State of Indiana
10A01-1212-CR-587
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A child molesting, rejecting Dickey’s argument that testimony about his physical abuse of the victim and her mother was improperly admitted. The court held that Dickey failed to preserve the argument for appeal because, while his attorney objected to a line of questioning about when Dickey’s relationship with the victim’s mother began to change, a continuing objection was not raised.
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Opinions Dec. 12, 2013

December 12, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Eric Johnson v. Gillian Wheeler Johnson
49S05-1303-DR-199
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court order with respect to the calculation of Gillian Johnson’s health insurance premium credit and application of Eric Johnson’s Social Security Retirement benefits. Summarily affirms the Court of Appeals as to the remaining issues. The trial court’s approach was appropriate in light of the flexibility afforded by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2013

December 11, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Carol Sparks Drake v. Thomas A. Dickey, Craig Anderson, Charles E. Podell, and Duke Realty Corporation
29A02-1302-CT-152
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Duke Realty on Drake’s claim that it intentionally interfered with her partnership agreement with the law firm. The trial court erred when it concluded that Drake had failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Duke Realty intentionally induced Parr Richey to terminate Drake as a partner. Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2013

December 10, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Didion and Kristi Didion as Parents and Legal Guardians of Brayden Didion v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company
27A02-1303-PL-232
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. on its complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that it had no liability for a dog bite on an insured’s property. The person living at the property was not an insured and Auto-Owners was not given timely notice of the dog bite and injury pursuant to the terms of the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2013

December 9, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lagro Township and Karen Pinkerton Tatro v. George E. Bitzer and Zelma E. Bitzer
85A02-1306-PL-520
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Bitzers on Lagro Township’s action seeking to exercise control over an area of land referred to as “the Belden Cemetery,” which is located on land owned by the Bitzers. The statute authorizing a township trustee to exercise control over cemeteries located within the township is inapplicable where the cemetery is located on land on which property taxes have been paid. And here, even though there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether and to what extent the dedication of the Belden Cemetery to the public was accepted by the public through usage, there is no genuine issue of material fact with regard to the Bitzers’ payment of property taxes on the land on which the Belden Cemetery is located for decades. For this reason alone, the township’s claims of authority over the Belden Cemetery must fail.
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Opinions Dec. 6, 2013

December 6, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Everett Sweet v. State of Indiana
35A02-1305-PC-451
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Sweet’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief. He argued had he not received ineffective counsel on his motion to suppress, the state’s evidence against him would have been suppressed and he would not have pleaded guilty to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine. This is not a permissible basis to collaterally attack a guilty plea in Indiana.
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Opinions Dec. 5, 2013

December 5, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Katherine Ryan v. Larry Janovsky
45A03-1304-DR-145
Domestic relation. Reverses denial of Ryan’s petition for contempt and rule to show cause after Janovsky refused to sign a proposed qualified domestic relations order. The entry of a QDRO is not time-barred.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2013

December 4, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rick Deeter v. Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
43A04-1305-PL-229
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. regarding Rick Deeter’s claim for insurance proceeds. Determines that when an insurance company has included an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss that results from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will respect the parties’ right to contract and enforce that exclusion. The undisputed designated evidence shows that Callie Deeter purposefully and intentionally burnt down her home, and Farmers was within the scope of its contractual rights to deny the Deeters’ insurance claim in accordance with the intentional loss exclusion contained in the policy.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2013

December 2, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thomas Blanchar v. Standard Insurance Co.
12-2745
Civil. Affirms District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of Standard, holding that Blanchar is not entitled to overtime compensation  because his work satisfies the requirements of the administrative employee exemption.

I
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Opinions Nov. 27, 2013

November 27, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Diane S. Brown Bell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. The Bryant Company, Inc.
49A04-1305-PL-210
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of a suit seeking class action against a property management company that kept late fees paid by renters and asserted a right to do so. The court found the plaintiff likely entitled to recovery of the fees, and that at minimum the trial court erred in granting Bryant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Remands for proceedings, including whether class certification is appropriate.
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Opinions Nov. 26, 2013

November 26, 2013
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wanda Goodpaster, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al.
13-1629
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of the bar owners’ request for injunctive and declaratory relief against the enforcement of the smoking ban in Indianapolis. They cannot succeed on the merits of any of their myriad claims. The injunction the bar owners sought was thus unwarranted.
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Opinions Nov. 25, 2013

November 25, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
James L. Graham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1304-CR-151
Criminal. Vacates a purported habitual offender enhancement and affirms the three-year aggregate sentence following guilty pleas to Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class A misdemeanor operating with suspended license and Class B misdemeanor false informing.
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Opinions Nov. 22, 2013

November 22, 2013
Indiana Supreme Court
Harold O. Fulp, Jr. v. Nancy A. Gilliland
41S01-1306-TR-426
Trust. Reverses denial of specific performance of the purchase agreement to Harold Fulp Jr. Under the terms of the trust and the Trust Code, Ruth Fulp owed her children no fiduciary duties and was free to sell her farm at less than fair market value; Harold Fulp Jr. is therefore entitled to specific performance. Concludes that Ruth Fulp did not effectively amend the trust by selling the farm.
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Opinions Nov. 21, 2013

November 21, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
B.R., a Minor, by his Guardian, Teresa Todd v. State of Indiana, Indiana Department of Child Services, Morgan County Office of Department of Child Services, and Adult and Child Mental Health Center
55A05-1212-CT-639
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Adult and Child Mental Health Center’s Trial Rule 12(B)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The allegations in B.R.’s complaint, i.e. that his case manager negligently placed him with the respite therapeutic foster parents and negligently failed to inform the foster parents that B.R. was an overly active child known to run from adults and escape his home, are not directly related to any medical care B.R. received from the Health Center. Furthermore, the foster care placement was not made by a health care professional. Because B.R.’s claims sound in general negligence, his claims fall outside the Medical Malpractice Act.
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Opinions Nov. 20, 2013

November 20, 2013
Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear
23A01-1303-PL-96
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Spears on their claims of title by acquiescence and adverse possession and denial of summary judgment for the Garrets. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.
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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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