Opinions

Opinions July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Center for Inquiry, Inc., and Reba Boyd Wooden v. Marion Circuit Court Clerk and Marion County Prosecutor
12-3751
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the denial of an injunction to prevent the state from enforcing the marriage solemnization statute. Rules Indiana’s statute that prohibits officials of secular groups such as humanist societies from solemnizing marriages violates the First Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
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Opinions July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott A. Wright v. State of Indiana
45A05-1310-CR-526
Criminal. Vacates Wright’s conviction of Class A felony child molesting and remands for a new trial. Finds the trial court erred in replacing a juror during deliberations. The juror was the lone vote to acquit and had stopped deliberating but he was not prejudicing the other jurors nor impairing Wright’s right to a trial by jury. Moreover, the trial court failed to explain to the jury that the removal of the single juror was not because the court agreed or disagreed with the juror’s views.
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Opinions July 10, 2014

July 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Adam Hartman v. EBSCO Industries Inc., et al
13-3398
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants on Hartman’s lawsuit alleging negligence and strict liability after he was injured accidently by a gun. Indiana has a 10-year statute of repose for products-liability actions and his gun was then 14 years old. There are two exceptions to the statute, but he cannot satisfy either one.
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Opinions June 9, 2014

July 9, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, City of Indianapolis, Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc., et al.
49S04-1301-PL-8
Civil plenary. Grants petition for rehearing on the issue of whether the insurers are third-party beneficiaries to the management agreement between Veolia and the city of Indianapolis. As to all issues not expressly addressed in the principal opinion, the Court of Appeals is summarily affirmed.
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Opinions July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
Julia Hutt v. AbbVie Products LLC
13-1481
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of AbbVie Products, formerly known as Solvay Pharmaceuticals, on Hutt’s age discrimination and retaliation claims and her state law claim asserting a violation of the Indiana Wage Payment Statute. The District Court correctly concluded that Hutt’s age discrimination claim fails under the direct method and she could not prove the company retaliated against her for filing a complaint with the EEOC. Finds Hutt failed to develop her bad-faith argument with regard to her claim alleging violation of the Wage Payment Statute.
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Opinions July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Z.A. v. State of Indiana
49A02-1311-JV-973
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that Z.A. committed what would be Class D felony theft if committed by an adult. The state did not prove that Z.A. exerted unauthorized control over the television he and his mother purchased together when he took it from his mother’s home over her objection.
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Opinions July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gene Williams on behalf of Pamela J. Townsend v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security
13-3607
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Magistrate Judge John E. Martin.
Civil. Reverses District Court’s affirmation of the administrative law judge’s decision that Townsend became totally disabled as of Nov. 1, 2008.
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Opinions July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Steve L. Brejensky
29S00-1205-DI-277
Discipline. Imposes at least one-year suspension without automatic reinstatement based on Brejensky’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor conversion and lack of remorse. He may be reinstated only after proving his remorse, rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.
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Opinions July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
James Brown v. State of Indiana

49A02-1312-CR-1023
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication, holding that Brown was intoxicated in a public place and the evidence was sufficient to prove he harassed, annoyed or alarmed another person, one of the four conduct elements under the statute amended in 2012.
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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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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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