Legal News

Estate battle remanded to trial court to determine timeliness

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
An heir was successful in asserting he had a claim to his father’s estate but has more work to convince the courts he filed his claim in a timely manner.
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Wiretap and defamation claims against South Bend councilman allowed to move forward

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Overturning the trial court’s dismissal, the Indiana Court of Appeals is allowing the complaint claiming a South Bend city councilman violated the federal wiretap act and committed defamation to proceed.
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Risk to student in school religion case merits concealing mom’s name

August 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
The mother of a Fort Wayne public school student may proceed without identifying herself in a federal lawsuit claiming the second-grader was ostracized and shamed by a teacher because he told a classmate who inquired about his faith that he didn’t believe in God. The mother said identifying herself would disclose her son’s name, subjecting him to further harm and public criticism.
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2nd northern Indiana city drops gay protection proposals

August 4, 2015
 Associated Press
Officials in the northern Indiana city of Goshen have decided to put off voting on a proposal expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
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Reversal: Insurer’s acceptance of payment reinstated policy

August 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Porter County man won his argument that his insurer’s acceptance of a late payment kept his homeowners coverage in force, after which a garage fire caused damage exceeding $80,000. Now, the insurer also may have to pay bad-faith and punitive damages.
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Uncertain of meth’s status, COA tosses syringe conviction

August 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who was convicted of two felonies for injecting himself with methamphetamine should not have been convicted of unlawful possession of a syringe, because it’s unclear whether meth qualifies as a legend drug, a Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday.
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Judge’s description not impermissible judicial testimony

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Marion County judge who described the testimony to jurors as “heartfelt” did not overstep the prohibition against the judiciary acting as a witness.
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Job market somewhat improved for law school grads

August 3, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The National Association for Law Placement’s new analysis of the job market heralded the first rise in the employment rate in eight years for new law school graduates. However, the uptick comes with two caveats – the method for measuring employment has been tweaked which could be contributing to the better rate and the small size of the 2014 class provides an improved jobs rate despite a lower actual number of jobs secured.
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2015 conference of judicial PIOs kicks off in Indianapolis

August 3, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Media liaisons and judicial spokespeople from around the United States are in Indianapolis for the 2015 annual meeting of the Conference of Court Public Information Officers Aug. 3 - 5. This is the first time the conference has visited Indiana.
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7th Circuit blasts Evansville flash bang search, notes racial factor

August 3, 2015
Dave Stafford
Evansville police “committed too many mistakes to pass the test of reasonableness” in a bungled home search and are not shielded from a federal excessive force lawsuit, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Denial of disability benefits remanded for better explanation

August 3, 2015
 Associated Press
A rejection of a claimant’s application for disability is being remanded after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the “abstruse signals” in the denial did not sufficiently explain the reasons for disregarding new evidence.
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Feds: Action taken to fix mistakenly awarded work permits

August 3, 2015
 Associated Press
Problems have been fixed that led to about 2,100 work permits being mistakenly awarded under President Barack Obama's executive immigration action after a federal judge in Texas had put the plan on hold, the Justice Department said in newly filed court documents.
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NCAA granted stay in O'Bannon case; payments delayed

August 3, 2015
 Associated Press
The NCAA was given a respite Friday when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court delayed the implementation of possible payments to athletes for the use of their names, images and likenesses.
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Cox to join Vanderburgh Circuit Court

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Vanderburgh County will officially install its new magistrate with a swearing-in and robing ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 3 in the Vanderburgh Circuit Court.
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Victim’s statements were dying declaration, COA rules

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the victim, who was shot multiple times and eventually did die, could not have made a dying declaration because paramedics repeatedly told him he would live.
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Indiana clears Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing after videos

July 31, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana on Thursday cleared Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions in the state of any wrongdoing in the handling of fetal tissue.
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No evidence of officer’s injury voids restitution order

July 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis trial court abused its discretion by ordering a man convicted in a physical altercation with police to pay more than $27,000 in restitution despite a lack of evidence he caused injuries that resulted in those medical bills.
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Insurer off hook in Indy strip club shooting

July 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
A company that insured a westside Indianapolis strip club has no coverage duty for a patron who was shot in the face after an altercation outside the club three years ago, a federal judge has ruled.
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Shepard and Metzger making history

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana legal profession will celebrate a pair of firsts July 31, as two of its own receive national honors.
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Justices reinstate grandparent visitation COA deemed excessive

July 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday reinstated a trial court’s grandparent visitation order that included monthly overnight visits and other visitation that the Court of Appeals ruled was excessive.
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Justices affirm molestation conviction despite vouching testimony

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction of Class C felony child molestation was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Supreme Court, which held that even though improper vouching testimony was admitted in error, the defendant failed to preserve the issue for appeal.
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Convictions based on ‘very same behavior’ do not violate double jeopardy

July 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man was unable to overcome heavy precedent and convince the Indiana Supreme Court his convictions violated the state prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Trial court erred in ruling defendant waived counsel

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford

A defendant who pleaded with a judge to try to obtain possibly exculpatory video evidence he said his public defender refused to seek did not, by his conduct, waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined Thursday.

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Tax Court stands by its original decision

July 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Reiterating the relationship between exclusion and consumption exemption, the Indiana Tax Court upheld its earlier ruling exempting Aztec Partners LLC from paying sales tax on the electricity it used.
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Northwest Indiana jurist receives state honor

July 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Lake County judge was surprised July 29 when he received the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash award, one of the state’s highest civil honors.
 
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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