Opinions

Opinions Feb. 11, 2014

February 11, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council; VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council
82S01-1306-CT-436 and 82S01-1306-PL-437
Civil. Strikes down an amended Evansville smoking ban that exempted the Aztar riverboat casino in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Mark Massa and Steven David held that the exception violated Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because it conferred a privilege on the casino that wasn’t extended to similarly situated bars, taverns and clubs. Dissenting Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker found the casino’s inherent characteristics of producing a large flow of revenue and attracting a mostly out-of-town clientele placed it in a distinct group from the tavern and club establishment that challenged the exemption.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2014

February 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timmothy Williams
13-1260
Criminal. Vacates sentence for convictions related to identity theft and remands to the District Court. In accordance with the ruling in Peugh v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072, 2078 (2013), sentencing guidelines that were stricter than those in place at the time Williams committed the crime were improperly applied when he was sentenced to 56 months in prison for identity theft convictions plus 24 months for aggravated identity theft. Remands to sentence Williams to 30 to 37 months in prison – the range under the guidelines in place at the time of his offenses.
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Opinions Feb. 7, 2014

February 7, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, et al.
12-3428
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of defendants in a civil rights suit alleging police used excessive force when they shot Gary Helman, ending an armed standoff that began when authorities attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest at his home in Cromwell. Helman’s § 1983 complaint cannot survive summary judgment because he pleaded guilty to a class D felony count of resisting law enforcement in which evidence showed authorities only fired after Helman reached for his firearm.
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Opinions Feb. 6, 2014

February 6, 2014
Indiana Supreme Court
Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, City of Indianapolis, Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc., et. al.
49S04-1301-PL-8
Civil plenary. Holds that a private, for-profit company under the circumstances of this case is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from a fire that destroyed a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. Accordingly, affirms the trial court’s rulings that Veolia is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity and that the city is not entitled to statutory sovereign immunity from liability for damages resulting from an inadequate water supply in the hydrants near the restaurant. The city is entitled to common law sovereign immunity, so reverses holding that the city is not entitled to common law sovereign immunity.
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Opinions Feb. 5, 2014

February 5, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kendale L. Adams, et al. v City of Indianapolis
12-1874
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. In a consolidated appeal, affirms entry of summary judgment for the city on the officers’ disparate-treatment claims because the plaintiffs had not produced any evidence that using the test results to make promotions was a pretext for discrimination. Affirms dismissal of new claims brought as barred by res judicata because the same eligibility list generated by the testing process was at issue in the first case.
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Opinions Feb. 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Smith v. Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, et al.
13-1939
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Smith’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a policy that requires a permit before gathering on commission properties. The new policy, revised shortly after the District Court denied the motion, retains the problematic features of the old policy. Also, Smith has met the requirements for obtaining a preliminary injunction. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate preliminary injunction.
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Opinions Feb. 3, 2014

February 3, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
William Rinehart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-236
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of a handgun without a license.
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Opinions Jan. 31, 2014

January 31, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Timothy L. Richards
12-3763
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, maintaining a residence or place for the purpose of using and distributing controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. There was no error in allowing the government to introduce seized evidence, finding Richards’ 86-year-old uncle had authority to consent to a search of the bedroom where Richards stayed.
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Opinions Jan. 30, 2014

January 30, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Matter of C.L., a Delinquent v. State of Indiana
05A04-1306-JV-319
Juvenile. Reverses adjudication that C.L. is delinquent for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor intimidation if committed by an adult. It was not established that C.L. committed intimidation for a prior lawful act. The evidence established that the alleged threats C.L. directed toward his grandfather were aimed at influencing future conduct, rather that in retaliation for past conduct. Judge Najam dissents.
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Opinions Jan. 29, 2014

January 29, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Cory L. Meadows v. State of Indiana
39A01-1305-CR-215
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Meadows’ request for credit for the time he served on electronic monitoring while he was in the drug court program. After examining the statutory provisions governing sentencing, electronic monitoring and deferral programs, concludes it was within the court’s discretion to deny the credit toward his sentence.
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Opinions Jan. 28, 2014

January 28, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Bitler Investment Venture II, LLC, et al. v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, et al.
12-3722.
Civil. Affirms in part, reverses in part a $269,000 judgment in favor of Bitler. Remands with instructions to double damages awarded under Michigan’s laws regarding doctrine of waste for properties that Marathon failed to maintain and were ultimately condemned. Reverses dismissal of certain contract claims and remands to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for trial on those issues.
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Opinions Jan. 27, 2014

January 27, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Annex Books Inc, et al. v. City of Indianapolis
13-1500.
Civil. Reverses District Court order upholding a city of Indianapolis ordinance limiting the hours of adult bookstores to 10 a.m. to midnight, Monday-Saturday. Remands to the District Court with instructions to enter injunction against enforcement of the closure ordinance. Finds that in light of prior Supreme Court jurisprudence, the city cannot restrict the distribution of material that might be objectionable but is not obscene. The city’s argument that the closure ordinance had reduced instances of armed robberies near the bookstore locations was “weak as a statistical matter,” the court ruled.
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Opinions Jan. 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
Jan. 24, 2014
Indiana Tax Court

William W. Thorsness v. Porter County Assessor
49T10-1102-TA-14
Tax. Affirms final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review regarding Thorsness’ 2007 real property assessment. The burden-shifting rule contained in Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-1(p) and its progeny applies only to valuation challenges, not to uniform and equal constitutional challenges. Concludes that the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err by determining that Thorsness’ ratio study did not demonstrate that the assessor’s assessment lacked uniformity.
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Opinions Jan. 23, 2014

January 23, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
A.J.R. v. State of Indiana
46A03-1306-JV-243
Juvenile. Holds that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the officer’s testimony, and the evidence is sufficient to prove A.J.R. shot two cattle and to sustain his adjudications for criminal mischief. However, concluding A.J.R.’s actions did not constitute mutilation or torture of an animal, the court reverses his adjudications for cruelty to an animal.
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Opinions Jan. 22, 2014

January 22, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Antoine Duff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1306-CR-503
Criminal. Affirms 16-year sentence, with 10 years executed and six years suspended, for Class B felony battery.
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Opinions Jan. 21, 2014

January 21, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lovoyne Drain
12-3684
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms above-guidelines sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon. Section 4A1.3(a)(3), like every provision of the sentencing guidelines, is advisory. And the judge did not violate Drain’s right to due process by taking into account his arrest history as part of her evaluation of the sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a).
 
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Opinions Jan. 20, 2014

January 20, 2014
The following Indiana Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday:
Marilyn South v. Harry South (NFP)
15A01-1306-DR-251
Domestic relation. Affirms dissolution of marriage and division of assets.

The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Tax Court and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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Opinions Jan. 17, 2014

January 17, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Shane L. Duckworth v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1304-CR-152
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.
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Opinions Jan. 16, 2014

January 16, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Floyd County and Floyd County Plan Commission v. City of New Albany and New Albany City Plan Commission
22A05-1303-MI-139
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment for the city on a lawsuit over whether the city or county has zoning jurisdiction over an unincorporated area outside the city limits. As a matter of law, the county is not entitled to exercise jurisdiction over the fringe area, nor is it required to consent to the city’s exercise of jurisdiction. Because the county has a population of less than 95,000, Indiana Code 36-7-4-205(f) determines which entity is entitled to exercise jurisdiction over the fringe area, and because the city is providing municipal services to the fringe area, it is entitled to the exercise of jurisdiction without the necessity of county approval.
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Opinions Jan. 15, 2014

January 15, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
The City of Fort Wayne v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company and NiSource, Inc.
02A04-1307-CT-366
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for NIPSCO and NiSource on the city’s lawsuit after NIPSCO’s contractor damaged an underground drain, causing flooding. The city’s failure to discharge its statutory duties to provide accurate locations of its underground facilities to NIPSCO is dispositive of all claims on appeal.
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Opinions Jan. 14, 2014

January 14, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kimberly Spurling v. C&M Fine Pack, Inc.
13-1708
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana’s entry of summary judgment for C&M on the Family Medical Leave Act claim. Reverses the entry of summary judgment in favor of C&M on Spurling’s Americans with Disabilities Act claim and remands for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Rules the company did not actually fire Spurling until after it learned she had a medical condition that was covered under the ADA.
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Opinions Jan. 13, 2014

January 13, 2014
The Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
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Opinions Jan. 10, 2014

January 10, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Julio Cesar Chavarria v. United States of America
11-3549
Criminal. Affirms District Court order dismissing Chavarria’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel that led to his deportation after conviction of cocaine distribution charges. The panel found the distinction between affirmative misadvice and failure to advise does not evade the non-retroactive ruling of Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010).
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Opinions Jan. 9, 2014

January 9, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wolf's Marine, Inc. v. Dev Brar
29A02-1303-SC-293
Small claim. Reverses denial of Wolf’s Marine’s motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Dr. Dev Brar. The trial court incorrectly determined that personal jurisdiction over Wolf’s existed in Indiana, and it should have granted the company’s motion to dismiss.
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Opinions Jan. 8, 2014

January 8, 2014
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Tony Currie
12-1666
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms decision to deny Currie’s motion to suppress evidence without conducting an evidentiary hearing. Orders a limited remand for purposes of ascertaining whether the District Court would be inclined to sentence him differently knowing Currie is subject to the lower statutory minimum of five years as provided by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. His current sentence is 121 months.
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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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