First Impression

COA tackles 2 issues of first impression

March 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed two new issues in a child solicitation and prostitution case regarding authenticating emails and text messages and whether the defendant’s actions actually constituted a crime.
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Medmal claim sent via FedEx before deadline was timely filed

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice complaint was timely filed when an attorney delivered it to Federal Express a day before the statutory deadline, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, reversing lower court orders and remanding the complaint to the trial court.
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Admission of return of service did not violate Confrontation Clause

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a return of service on a protective order is not testimonial, so its admission at trial did not violate a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.
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Ex-wife allowed to enter QDRO 20 years after divorce

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression regarding when a qualified domestic relations order must be filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a woman who waited 20 years after her divorce to have her ex-husband sign a QDRO for division of his pension may still be able to submit it.
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Justices: Trustee of revocable trust serves self

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted a revocable trust case to answer the first impression question: While a trust is revocable, whom does the trustee serve? The justices concluded that an Indiana woman, as trustee, served herself.
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Gun seizure case presents first impression issue

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose 51 guns were ordered seized by a judge who determined him dangerous after his behavior alarmed Bloomington police near the site where missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer was last seen is asking the Indiana Supreme Court to return his firearms.
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7th Circuit addresses 'khat' convictions for first time

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on many types of drug cases, but was presented with a new drug to consider for the first time: “khat,” a popular drug among the Somali community.
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COA addresses first impression issue regarding education under civil rights law

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals – with one judge reluctantly doing so – affirmed a decision by an administrative law judge that found a religious organization unlawfully retaliated against a family by expelling them from the homeschooling group. The expulsion occurred after the family sought a dietary accommodation for their teenage daughter at a social event and later filed a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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COA says argument over wording of robbery statute is issue of first impression

April 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
An argument over the wording of the state’s robbery statute gave the Indiana Court of Appeals pause but ultimately did not sway its ruling in affirming a conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.
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Bankruptcy ruling locks out insiders

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A recent bankruptcy appeal tossing an Indianapolis shopping center’s reorganization plan further establishes that the control of equity in Chapter 11 cases will be subject to competitive bidding and that insiders might be out of luck.
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COA answers first impression issue on custodial statements

February 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant convicted of a burglary in St. Joseph County challenged the admission of his prior statement to police while in custody, arguing the statement couldn’t be allowed at his trial because a recorded version of the statement wasn’t available at trial as required by Indiana Evidence Rule 617.
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Car’s color alone doesn’t support traffic stop

February 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and federal courts, the judges were asked to consider whether a discrepancy between the observed color of a car and the color listed on its registration alone gives rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
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Judges’ ruling in email records case defers to public access counselor

January 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A request for the email records of public officials that simply asks for emails to or from officials over a certain period of time doesn’t satisfy the Access to Public Records Act, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Judges affirm criminal recklessness conviction

December 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Someone shooting at a residence, for purposes of a criminal recklessness prosecution, may create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person even if the resident is away from the home at the moment of the shooting, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a first impression case.
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Agency erred in adjusting experience account rates after merger

October 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered the Department of Workforce Development to reinstate the original contribution rates for unemployment insurance experience accounts of a parent company and its subsidiaries. The DWD should not have combined the accounts and adjusted the rates following a merger.
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Statute granting DCS immunity applies to nearly all of family’s claims

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving the Department of Child Services before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday provided the court with two issues of first impression – the interpretation of a statute relating to the agency, and the liberty interests that may reside with extended family members involved in the lawsuit.
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Trial court erred in excluding evidence of mediation communications

June 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the trial court erred in excluding an ex-husband’s offer of evidence of communications during a settlement agreement following his divorce to establish a mistake occurred in drafting the agreement, the error was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. This case raised an issue of first impression regarding whether communications during mediation can be used as extrinsic evidence.
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COA rules on first impression possession of marijuana issue

May 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A woman’s objection over how much marijuana was being attributed to her led the Indiana Court of Appeals to apply for the first time Supreme Court precedent regarding possession of marijuana.
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Tort law case tests boundaries of 'duty'

March 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion that answered some complicated questions about the point at which one person assumes a “duty” to another. But the panel did not reach a consensus, with one judge writing that the majority opinion could have a negative impact on public policy.
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Shield law ruling unique in nation

March 14, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals adopts a modified test in a defamation case.
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Divided court affirms liability in 'courtesy wave' case

February 28, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. One judge disagreed with the majority decision, stating the opinion is contrary to sound public policy.
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COA rules on anonymous online commenter case

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered the trial court apply a modified test based on a New Jersey case to determine whether The Indianapolis Star must identify an online user whose comment is part of a defamation lawsuit.
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High court takes 2 cases

December 28, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has taken a counterfeiting case and a case involving credit time that presents an issue of first impression, according to its latest transfer order.
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In first impression ruling, COA reverses trial court on illegal search

December 16, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer went one step too far when he opened a pill bottle he found in a man’s pocket.
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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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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