Opinions

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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Opinions June 6, 2014

June 6, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of Labor ex rel Vincent Scialdone and Antimo Scialdone v. An Island, LLC (NFP)
62A01-1312-PL-548
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court decision to not order An Island LLC to pay any 2010 wages to Antimo or Vincent Scialdone and to not award the plaintiffs attorney fees.
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Opinions June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Jaklin Idris and Dariana Kamenova v. Marion County Assessor
49T10-1108-TA-49
Tax. Finds the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err in upholding the 2006 assessment of Idris’ and Kamenova’s condominium unit. Rejects their claims the board abused its discretion in finding that Kamenova failed to establish that their property was entitled to an obsolescence adjustment, and in determining that the assessments of the three other units in their building failed to show that their property was over-assessed; and that the board erred in upholding their assessment given the assessor’s improper use of the “one unit multiple units” classification.
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Opinions June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014
Lori Nicklas v. Von Tobel Corporation, Individually, and d/b/a Von Tobel Lumber; and Von Tobel Lumber Company, Inc.
64A03-1310-CC-429
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Von Tobel Corp. and the denial of Nicklas’ motion for summary judgment on the company’s action to recover money owed on a promissory note executed by Nicklas and her husband. An agreed judgment against one obligor does not merge and extinguish the obligation of another person jointly and severally liable on the same contract, so Van Tobel was free to seek a judgment against Lori Nicklas after an agreed judgment with Shawn Nicklas had been entered.
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Opinions June 3, 2014

June 3, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Virginia E. Alldredge and Julia A. Luker, as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Venita Hargis v. The Good Samaritan Home, Inc.
82S01-1305-CT-363
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment, holding that a wrongful death claim against Good Samaritan may proceed. Holds that the Fraudulent Concealment Statute may apply to the Wrongful Death Act’s two-year filing period. Remands for proceedings.
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Opinions June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brandon Brummett v. State of Indiana
49A02-1304-CR-378
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B and Class C felony child molesting and three counts of Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor. The panel found the prosecutor’s continual misconduct constituted fundamental error that placed Brummett in grave peril. Remands for a new trial.
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Opinions May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Paternity of V.A., (Minor Child), R.A. v. B.Y.
39A04-1310-JP-512
Juvenile. Affirms a special judge’s ruling that the judge who heard evidence remanded to the trial court from an earlier appeal should rule on the remanded issues, as required by Trial Rule 63(A). The panel rejected father R.A.’s objection claiming that his change-of-judge request trumps that rule, finding that the change-of-judge rule only applies prospectively, while Rule 63(A) operates retroactively to ensure that the remanded issues are considered by the judge who heard the evidence.
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Opinions May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Stacy Smith and Robert Smith, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Johnny Dupree Smith, Deceased v. Delta Tau Delta, Inc. and Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, et al.
54S01-1405-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of national fraternity Delta Tau Delta on the Smiths’ wrongful death complaint. There is no designated evidentiary material that shows that the national fraternity had a right to exercise direct day-to-day oversight and control of the behavior of the activities of the local fraternity and its members. Concludes as a matter of law that an agency relationship does not exist between the national fraternity and the local fraternity or its members.
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Opinions May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Joshua Bunn v. Khoury Enterprises Inc.
13-2292
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Bunn’s former employer, a Dairy Queen franchise, on his claims that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bunn’s failure-to-accommodate claim falls short because his employer did reasonably accommodate his disability. His disparate treatment claim fails because he has not introduced sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of material fact and because the undisputed facts show that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
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Opinions May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Alden v. State of Indiana
30A05-1309-MI-463
Miscellaneous. Reverses denial of motion to prohibit the release of Alden’s criminal record. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion on the basis that the Legislature had repealed I.C. 35-38-8-3. Remands for the trial court to consider the merits of his motion.
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Opinions May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Andrew J. Rogers v. Sigma Chi International Fraternity, Theta Pi of Sigma Chi, Ancil Jackson, Brian Mifflin, Jr., and Joshua Kearby
84A04-1305-CT-224
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Sigma Chi International fraternity, its Terre Haute chapter and Jackson, Mifflin and Kearby on Rogers’ claim the defendants should have protected him from being assaulted at a party. Sigma Chi did not have possession of the premises where Rogers was injured, the defendants had no duty to protect him from the assault, and the International fraternity was not vicariously liable for the acts of the persons at the premises because it had no actual or apparent authority over them.
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Opinions May 22, 2014

May 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Yellowbook Inc. f/k/a Yellow Book Sales and Distribution Company, Inc. v. Central Indiana Cooling and Heating, Inc. and Lawrence E. Stone a/k/a Larry Stone
30A05-1311-CC-561
Civil collection. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands with instructions. The trial court erred when it concluded that Yellow Book failed to credit certain Central Indiana Cooling and Heating payments under Contracts 1 and 2; Contract 3 was induced by fraud and is rescinded; and Yellow Book is entitled to pre-judgment interest and reasonable attorney fees for amounts owed under Contracts 1 and 2.
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Opinions May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jacob Herron v. State of Indiana
56A03-1306-CR-210
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony receiving stolen property. The jury may have relied on the impeachment evidence as substantive evidence in this case. Remands for retrial, if the state chooses. Judge Riley dissents in part, finding enough circumstantial evidence to convict Herron.
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Opinions May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H.
82A01-1309-AD-404
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s judgment that the natural parents’ consent was not necessary in the adoption of their child, J.M. Concludes the trial court did not err when it held a consent hearing which essentially terminated the rights of the natural parents. Also finds the trial court did consider the best interests of the child and that the trial court did not need to consider the natural parents’ fitness at the time of the consent hearing and again at the adoption hearing. 
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Opinions May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Van Buren Township, Madison County, Boone Township, Madison County, The Summitville Fire Protection Territory v. Department of Local Government Finance
49T10-1104-TA-27
Tax. Affirms Department of Local Government Finance denial of creation of the Summitville Fire Protection Territory because of defects in a legal advertisement to provide notice of a public hearing at which two townships proposed creation of the fire district and its authority to levy taxes. The court rejected arguments that each township published notice of the meeting on the same day in the same newspaper, so therefore a reasonable person would not have been misled by the defective legal notice.
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Opinions May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Steven B. Geller
49S00-1106-DI-318
Attorney discipline. Disbars Geller for 12 violations of the Rules of Professional conduct, including violations arising from his physical confrontation at the courthouse with an ex-client who he believed owed him money. Disbarment is warranted in light of Geller’s history of misconduct, unsuccessful prior attempt at rehabilitation, inability to manage anger, and dishonesty toward the Court and the Disciplinary Commission. Justice Mark Massa concurred in part and dissented in part and would have recommended a three-year suspension without automatic reinstatement.
 
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Opinions May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014
Indiana Tax Court
Hoosier Roll Shop Services, LLC v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1104-TA-29
Tax. Grants summary judgment in favor of Hoosier Roll and against the Department of State Revenue. Finds Hoosier Roll produces other tangible personal property when it grinds and calibrates its customers’ work rolls.
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Opinions May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Tammy Sue Harper
79S02-1405-CR-334
Criminal. Affirms grant of Harper’s motion for a sentence modification sought more than 365 days after she was originally sentenced. The prosecutor’s conduct and communications adequately conveyed the “approval of the prosecuting attorney” required in I.C. 35-38-1-17(b).
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Opinions May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
In re Mental Health Actions for A.S., Sara Townsend
10S01-1402-MH-113
Mental health. Reverses finding that Sara Townsend was in indirect civil contempt after completing an application to initiate immediate emergency treatment for her co-worker, A.S. The trial court lacked statutory authority to find her in contempt and her actions did not place her under the trial court’s authority to impose sanctions as an inherent power of the judiciary.
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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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