Opinions

Opinions Feb. 28, 2012

February 28, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jacob Key, Ted J. Brown and Sally A. Brown v. Dewayne Hamilton
48A02-1007-CT-812
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Hamilton, holding that Key – by waving into traffic a driver who caused a crash with Hamilton – assumed a duty of care to a third-party motorist because the signaled driver reasonably expected that traffic was clear.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2012

February 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Arc Construction Management, LLC, and Alan Muncy v. John Zelenak and Cecilia Zelenak
10A01-1106-CT-247
Civil Tort. Affirms and remands case involving a home construction lawsuit, finding that trial court didn’t err in denying summary judgment on the former homeowners’ claim of breach of implied warranty of habitability.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2012

February 24, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
CFS, LLC and Charles Blackwelder v. Bank of America, Successor in Interest to LaSalle Bank Midwest National Association

29A02-1105-MF-436
Mortgage foreclosure.  Affirms trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of Bank of America, finding that the bank established no genuine issue of material fact existed about whether a successor bank surviving after a merger could enforce the note and mortgage of the predecessor.

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Opinions Feb. 23, 2012

February 23, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Eriberto Quiroz v. State of Indiana
49A02-1107-CR-577
Criminal. Reverses Quiroz’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting because that conviction along with a Class A felony child molesting conviction constitutes double jeopardy as the same evidence supports both convictions. Remands for the trial court to vacate the Class C felony conviction. The trial court did not commit fundamental error in including in the jury instructions a copy of the charging information that included the counts against Quiroz that had previously been dismissed.
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Opinions Feb. 22, 2012

February 22, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Jerrme Cartwright v. State of Indiana
82S01-1109-CR-564
Criminal. Affirms convictions of attempted battery and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Finds no evidence of pretext in the state’s strike of venireperson Bard, the only African-American.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2012

February 21, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Herbert Yanez v. State of Indiana
49A02-1104-CR-362
Criminal. Reverses conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor and remands for further proceedings. There was no evidence presented as to why Yanez was stopped and the evidence presented didn’t establish the reasonableness of the state’s actions. Judge Barnes concurs in result in a separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2012

February 20, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Curtis Cole v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, and Owen County (NFP)
93A02-1106-EX-510
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2012

February 17, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Samuel T. Henzel
11-2293
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms 135-month sentence imposed following guilty plea to traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. The District Court miscalculated the imprisonment range favorably to Henzel, and the sentence imposed is actually within the correctly calculated range.
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Opinions Feb. 16, 2012

February 16, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court
Richmond State Hospital and All Other Similarly Situated State Institutions and Agencies v. Paula Brattain, et al.
49S02-1106-CV-327
Civil. Holds that the back pay recovery of the non-merit employees of the state should be limited in the same manner as the Court of Appeals has set forth for that of merit employees of the state. Remands with instructions to recalculate the non-merit employees’ back pay judgment based upon the time period beginning either 10 days before the complaint or 10 days before the filing of their grievances until the day the state eliminated its split-pay system, and summarily affirms the COA in all other respects.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2012

February 15, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Pierre Freeman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2012

February 14, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Marriage of K.Z. and M.H.
43A05-1107-DR-436
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order modifying dissolution decree to reflect that a child of the marriage between K.Z. and M.H. had been born after their divorce. Citing mother’s statement in the original dissolution decree, holds that no question of paternity exists, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the dissolution decree at the father’s request.
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Opinions Feb. 13, 2012

February 13, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bloomington Magazine, Inc. v. Mark Kiang d/b/a Mikado Restaurant, Sunbeam Corp., and Truffles 56 Degrees Incorporated
53A05-1012-SC-790
Civil. Reverses trial court’s order denying a motion to set aside judgment in favor of Mikado Restaurant Sunbeam Corp. and Truffles 56 Degrees. Finds that the trial court abused its discretion in denying a motion for the judge’s recusal and request for a special judge in light of one of the attorney’s past involvement as the judge’s 2008 election campaign chair. Remands the case for proceedings consistent with this appellate decision.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2012

February 10, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Commissioner of the Indiana Dept. of Insurance v. Tim Black, as Husband and Personal Rep. of Kay Black, Deceased
64A05-1104-CT-240
Civil tort. Reverses trial court’s denial of commissioner’s motion to dismiss but agrees with Black that because additional documentation had accompanied the commissioner’s motion, it should be treated as a motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Trial Rule 56. Holds that Black did not provide sufficient evidence of an agreement and a genuine issue of material fact exists. Remands for further proceedings. 
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2012

February 9, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sammie L. Booker-El v. Superintendent, Indiana State Prison and all agents
10-1490
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s dismissal of Booker-El’s complaint that prison officials misappropriated funds intended by statute to be used for the inmates’ benefit without due process of law. Booker-El has no property interest in the inmates’ recreation fund.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2012

February 8, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bei Bei Shuai v. State of Indiana
49A02-1106-CR-486
Criminal. Reverses trial courts’ denial of Shuai’s request to be released on bail. The defense presented sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that Shuai is guilty of murder of her child. Remands for a determination of bail. Declines to adopt Shuai’s argument that the murder statute is ambiguous as applied to her. Affirms denial of her motion to dismiss. Judge Riley concurs in part and dissents in part.

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Opinions Feb. 7, 2012

February 7, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Roy Wirtz, et al. v. City of South Bend
11-3811
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of the city’s motion to appeal a case arising under the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Although the city is challenging two appealable orders, the challenge is untimely. The appeal is also moot.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2012

February 6, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Continental Electric Co., Inc. v. Gary Community School Corporation (NFP)
45A05-1105-PL-247
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Continental Electric’s request for a preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2012

February 3, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Davis v. Kris Ockomon, et al.
10-2589
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms finding that the position of senior humane officer for the city of Anderson was a policymaking position and therefore Davis could be dismissed for political reasons. City ordinances authorized the senior humane officer to exercise policymaking discretion.
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Opinions Feb. 2, 2012

February 2, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Emergency Services Billing Corp. Inc., individually (and as agent for) agent of Westville Volunteer Fire Department v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al.
11-2381
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division at Lafayette, Judge John E. DeGuilio.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of ESBC’s suit seeking individuals involved in car accidents are responsible for the clean-up costs of hazardous substances released after accidents. A motor vehicle owned for personal use is a “consumer product in consumer use” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and thus owners/operators of personal motor vehicles are exempt from CERCLA’s response-cost provisions.
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Opinions Feb. 1, 2012

February 1, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mitchell & Stark Construction Company, Inc. v. Strand Associates, Inc., as successor In interest to Sieco, Inc. (NFP)
36A04-1103-CT-79
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Strand Associates.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2012

January 31, 2012
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Dale J. Atkins v. Michael Zenk
11-1891
Civil. Affirms U.S. District Court’s denial of habeas corpus petition, holding Atkins did not prove his claim that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of trial counsel.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Johnnie S. McCaa
56A04-1107-CR-341
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of McCaa’s motion to suppress evidence, holding that due to the unusual circumstances of an initial traffic stop, police did not err in asking McCaa to drive his truck to another location, where he ultimately failed field sobriety tests.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Holland, A Concerned Citizen for the Redevelopment of Gary v. Richard Steele, Barbara Steele, First Midwest Bank, As Successor Trustee By Way of Merger to Bank Calumet, N.A., et al.
45A03-1102-PL-84
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Holland was not entitled to summary judgment on his quiet title claim, and grant of summary judgment to the bank on its trespass and slander of title claims. The trial court properly found that Holland had filed a frivolous lawsuit and awarded appropriate attorney fees. On cross-appeal, the appellate court denied the bank’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Jan. 26, 2012

January 26, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services
93A02-1107-EX-604
Agency appeal. Affirms Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and wasn’t entitled to ongoing palliative care. Reeves failed to identify what type of care he should receive and the undisputed evidence does not show that palliative care limits the extent of his impairment.
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Opinions Jan. 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy Long v. State of Indiana
49A02-1105-CR-381
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Because the master commissioner presided at Long’s guilty plea hearing, and not at a criminal trial, she did not have the authority to enter a final judgment on Long’s sentence. Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown did not err by rejecting the master commissioner’s sentence and imposing her own sentence.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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