Opinions

Opinions Feb. 20, 2017

February 20, 2017
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2017

February 17, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of Bi.B. And Br.B, D.B. and V.G. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
54S01-1612-JT-630
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Reverses the trial court’s decision to terminate D.B.’s parental rights to his daughters, Bi.B. and Br.B. Finds the Department of Child Services failed to allege the one of the statutorily required three waiting periods for terminating parental rights that had, in fact, passed – the father’s daughters had been removed from him for at least six months under a dispositional decree. Also finds that DCS failed to prove the other two waiting periods applied to its petition.
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Opinions Feb. 16, 2017

February 16, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Tresa Megenity v. David Dunn
22S04-1609-CT-465.
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in for David Dunn in a case arising from an injury to Tresa Megenity during a karate class. Extending and clarifying Pfenning v. Lineman, 947 N.E.2d 392 (Ind. 2011), holds that when a sports participant injures someone while engaging in conduct ordinary in the sport, and without intent or recklessness, the participant does not breach a duty.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2017

February 15, 2017

Indiana Supreme Court
J.D.M. v. State of Indiana
21S01-1702-JV-84
Juvenile. Reverses J.D.M.’s adjudication as a delinquent for committing acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute Class C felony child molestation, and the subsequent order for him to register as a sex offender Finds that the statutory prerequisites for placing a juvenile on the sex offender registry were not met. Remands to the juvenile court for further proceedings.

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Opinions Feb. 14, 2017

February 14, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
School City of Hammond District v. Chad Rueth
45A03-1603-CT-450
Civil tort. Reverses judgment pursuant to a jury verdict in favor of Chad Rueth on his claims of defamation and blacklisting, finding there is insufficient evidence to support a verdict in his favor, and the trial court abused its discretion by denying the School City of Hammond District’s motion to correct error.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2017

February 13, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lori A. Spang v. Timothy R. Spang (mem. dec.)
02A03-1608-DR-1876
Domestic relation. Affirms the grant of Timothy Sprang’s objection to the relocation of his 12-year-old daughter, E.S., with her mother, Lori Sprang, and his petition for modification of custody. Finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion because it properly considered all factors and Timothy Sprang met his burden of proof to demonstrate that the proposed location was not in E.S.’s best interest.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2017

February 10, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tradale Jones v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1608-CR-1833
Criminal. Affirms Tradale Jones’ aggregate sentence of 50 years imposed for two counts of Level 1 felony rape and one count each of Level 3 felony robbery with a deadly weapon, Level 3 felony kidnapping while armed with a deadly weapon and Level 3 felony criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon. Finds that Jones’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character or the nature of his offense.
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2017

February 9, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andy A. Shinnock v. State of Indiana
18A05-1606-CR-1258
Criminal. Reverses Andy A. Shinnock’s conviction of bestiality as a Level 6 felony. Finds the Delaware Circuit Court erred in admitting Shinnock’s confessions at trial because the corpus delicti of the crime charged was not established. Remands.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2017

February 8, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
City of Lawrence Utilities Service Board, City of Lawrence, Indiana, and Mayor Dean Jessup, Individually and in his Official Capacity v. Carlton E. Curry
49S02-1609-CT-481
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Carlton Curry on his wrongful discharge claim and in favor of the city of Lawrence on Curry’s Wage Payment Statute claim. Also affirms the denial of Curry’s tortious interference claim. Finds that based on the clear and unambiguous language of Indiana Code 8-1.5-3-5(d), the Utilities Service Board had the sole authority to terminate Curry after notice and a hearing. Also finds that any other method for termination is up to the Legislature to determine as a matter of policy. Justice Steve David dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2017

February 7, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: The Matter of D.J. and G.J., Children in Need of Services; Gr.J. (Mother) and J.J. (Father) v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services

02S03-1610-JC-548
Juvenile. Reverses the Allen Superior Court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J.’s two minor children, D.J. and G.J., were children in need of services. Finds the record does not support the trial court’s finding that Gr.J. and J.J. needed the court’s coercive intervention to provide for their boys’ needs at the time of the dispositional hearing. Exercises the Indiana Supreme Court’s discretion to decide the parents’ case on its merits, despite their forfeited appeal.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2017

February 6, 2017
Indiana Tax Court
The University of Phoenix, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1411-TA-65
Tax. Grants in part the University of Phoenix, Inc.’s motion with respect to the previously withheld documentation regarding House Bill 1349 and orders the Indiana Department of State Revenue to provide the documentation to the University within seven days. Denies the university’s motion with respect to all other matters regarding HB 1349, the report, the presentation and the designation of another 30(B)(6) witness.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2017

February 3, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Abel Covarrubias
16-3402
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms the district court’s denial of Abel Covarrubias’ motion to suppress drugs found in a car being delivered to him from across the country. Finds that the district court correctly decided that Covarrubias lacked standing to contest the admission of the drugs into evidence.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2017

February 2, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Rachel Neal v. IAB Financial Bank, f/k/a Grabill Bank
02A03-1604-CT-1002
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of IAB Financial Bank. Finds because all three Webb factors lean against imposing a duty here, the Allen Superior Court did not err in concluding the bank owed no duty to Neal.

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Opinions Feb. 1, 2017

February 1, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Menard, Inc. v. Reba Lane
45A03-1606-CT-1283
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of Menard Inc.’s motion to set aside the default judgment entered in favor of Reba Lane when Menard failed to appear or defend itself against her personal injury suit. Finds the Lake Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Menard’s motion. Also finds Lane attempted service of her compliant and summons in multiple ways, all of which conformed with the requirements of the Indiana Trial Rules and that Lane’s attorney did not engage in misconduct when she did not notify the two law firms who had represented Menard in the past. Finally, finds that the breakdown in communication between Menard employees regarding the summons and complaint was not excusable neglect.
 
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2017

January 31, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of William A. Miller, by its representatives Patrick T. Chassie and Linda Wilkerson v. Helen J. Marberry and Gary Rogers.

15-1497.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Prisoner. Affirms the grant of summary judgment to Helen Marberry and Gary Rogers. Judge Richard Posner dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2017

January 30, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legato Vapors, LLC, et al and Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition, Inc. v. David Cook, et al
16-3071
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Reverses the judgment of the district court dismissing the case. Remands with instructions to enjoin enforcement of the challenged provisions of the Vapor Pens and E-Liquids Act against the plaintiffs and to declare the challenged provisions unenforceable against out-of-state manufacturers. Finds that Indiana may not try to achieve health and safety goals by directly regulating out-of-state factories and commercial transactions. Also finds that as applied to out-of-state manufacturers, the challenged provisions of the act violate the dormant Commerce Clause prohibition against extraterritorial legislation.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2017

January 27, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Lana Canen v. Dennis Chapman, in his individual capacity as Deputy for the Elkhart County Sheriff Department
16-1621
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana’s dismissal of Lana Canen’s case at summary judgment on the grounds that Dennis Chapman was entitled to qualified immunity. Finds that Detective Chapman's failure to disclose that he was not trained as a latent print examiner cannot be characterized as a violation of any clearly established right and, accordingly, the doctrine of qualified immunity protects him. Also finds that to the degree that this action is premised on the preparation or presentation of his trial testimony, absolute immunity protects Chapman.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2017

January 26, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Demajio Ellis v. State of Indiana
71S05-1606-PC-360
Post-conviction. Reverses the denial of Demajio Ellis’ post-conviction relief. Finds that Ellis’ guilty plea to four Class A felony offenses was invalid because at the time he entered the plea, he also professed his innocence.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2017

January 25, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Rollie M. Mitchell v. United States of America
14-3759
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms the denial of Rollie Mitchell’s motion for post-conviction review. Finds that Bruce Brattain did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2017

January 24, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Narles W. Coleman
98S00-1301-DI-52
Disciplinary. Suspends Narles W. Coleman from the practice of law in Indiana for at least two years without automatic reinstatement. Finds Coleman engaged in numerous acts of attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and subsequent civil suit against that client and by committing domestic battery against his wife.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2017

January 23, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
GHPE Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical v. Jason Huxley
49A02-1601-PL-164
Civil plenary. Affirms the Marion Superior Court damages award on Godby Heating Plumbing Electrical’s counterclaim and its refusal to award treble damages or attorney fees to Godby. Reverses the trial court’s award of $972.71 in base wages to Jason Huxley, as well as the doubling of that amount as liquidated damages. Remands for calculation of the wages to which Huxley is entitled after consideration of mandatory tax withholding only. Also remands for recalculation of the reasonable appellate attorney fees to which Huxley is entitled with respect to defending the Wage Payment Act judgment only.
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2017

January 20, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin T. Williams v. Unifund CCR, LLC
71A04-1604-CC-901
Civil collection. Reverses the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s judgment in favor of Unifund CCR LLC on Unifund’s complaint against Kevin T. Williams for nonpayment of credit card debt. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in entering judgment in favor of Unifund.
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Opinions Jan. 19, 2017

January 19, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Dermatology Associates, P.C. and Sonya Campbell Johnson, M.D. v. Elizabeth C. White v. Commissioner of Indiana Department of Insurance, and Douglas J. Hill, Esq., Medical Review Panel Chair
49A02-1512-PL-2189
Civil plenary. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson at Dermatology Associates P.C.’s motion for summary judgment alleging Elizabeth White failed to timely file her claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Finds the statute of limitations bars White’s action and the providers are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Judge Paul Mathias dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions Jan. 18, 2017

January 18, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Elberta N. Jackson v. State of Indiana
27A02-1607-CR-1717
Criminal. Affirms Elberta N. Jackson’s conviction for operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.15 as a Class A misdemeanor, resisting law enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct as a Class B misdemeanor. Finds that there is sufficient evidence to support Jackson’s conviction and that her due process rights were not violated.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2017

January 17, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: the Grandparent Visitation of G.S., J.S. v. M.S.
30A01-1608-DR-1801
Domestic relation. Reverses in part a Hancock Circuit Court order mandating G.S. be permitted to have contact with other paternal relatives when participating in grandparent visitation with M.S. Finds there is no statutory authority for a trial court to order a child to have visitation with anyone other than a grandparent in the face of a parent’s objections.

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