Opinions June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Bradley D. Hamilton
Discipline. Disbars Hamilton for abandoning his law practice and clients, stealing their money, and fleeing to Australia. Finds he violated eight rules of Professional Conduct.

Opinions June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline:
John W. Perotti v. Diane Quinones and Billie Kelsheimer
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s denial of Perotti’s petition of habeas corpus ad testificandum and arrangement for him to participate in his alleged retaliation trial by video conferencing. The decision did not disadvantage him, and the judge did everything she could to make sure that Perotti saw as much of the trial proceeding and its participants as was possible.

Opinions June 22, 2105

June 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
K.K. v. State of Indiana
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as delinquent for having committed the offense of dangerous possession of a firearm, a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult. The odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle K.K. was a passenger in provided probable cause for officers to arrest the car’s three occupants, such that the loaded handgun found during the search of K.K. was properly admitted into evidence.

Opinions June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday:
Muir Woods, Inc. v. Joseph P. O'Connor, Assessor of Marion County
Tax. Affirms dismissal by the Indiana Board of Tax Review of Muir Woods Inc.’s Petitions for correction of an error (Forms 133) because the forms’ alleged errors are not correctable under that appeal procedure. Finds that the Indiana Board acted within the scope of its authority and that Muir Woods did not raise a claim cognizable using the Form 133 appeal procedure.

Opinions June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
I-465, LLC v. Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals Division II of Marion County, Indiana, Jeffrey R. Baumgarth and The Myers Y. Cooper Company
Civil plenary. Affirms decision by the Marion County Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals approving a request for a property-use variance by Jeffrey R. Baumgarth and Myers Y. Cooper Co. The BZA’s decision to grant the variance was based upon its determination that Myers Cooper had established the five elements required to justify a variance, and its decision was supported by adequate findings, which in turn were supported by the evidence, and therefore not clearly erroneous.

Opinions June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Lewis III v. State of Indiana
Life without parole. Affirms Lewis’ convictions of murder, murder in the perpetration of criminal deviate conduct, criminal deviate conduct and resisting law enforcement, but reverses the sentence of life without possibility of parole because the trial court’s sentencing order did not contain a personal conclusion that life without possibility of parole is the appropriate sentence for Lewis. Remands for a revised sentencing order.

Opinions June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joan Strozewski v. James Strozewski
Domestic. Affirms on interlocutory appeal trial court denial of Joan Strozewski’s motion to transfer the case to St. Joseph County. Because Hamilton County is a preferred venue for a dissolution action, change of venue cannot be granted, and the trial court did not err in denying the motion to transfer venue.

Opinions June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Marc Shell v. Kevin Smith, in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Anderson, et al.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Anderson defendants and remands Shell’s Americans with Disabilities Act claim for proceedings in the District Court. Shell, a mechanic’s helper in the City of Anderson Transit System, claimed his firing after a change of city administration violated his rights under the ADA because he’d held the position for 12 years. He was unable to obtain a commercial driver’s license due to hearing and vision impairment and was fired after a new administrator enforced a job description requirement that he obtain a CDL. Because of evidence and reasonable inferences favorable to both parties, summary judgment was inappropriate.

Opinions June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015

Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Thursday.
In the Matter of the Adoption of Minor Children: I.B. and W.B.: B.B. v. B.C. and J.L., and Indiana Department of Child Services
Adoption. Reverses trial court adoption petition in favor of maternal grandmother B.C. that had been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Justices overturned a COA ruling that I.C. § 31-19-11-1(c)(15), which disqualifies certain felons from adoption, is unconstitutional. The law is constitutional because its prohibitions are rationally related to the classifications they draw, the court ruled. The case is remanded to the trial court to reconsider the petition in view of the absolute statutory bar to B.C. adopting.


Opinions June 11, 2015

June 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael R. Bixeman and Doreen Bixeman v. Hunter's Run Homeowners Association of St. John, Inc.
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court ruling that the sanction imposed by Hunter’s Run on the Bixemans’ was invalid because the homeowners association did not give the couple the required 10 days notice as outlined in the homeowners’ covenants. Reverses denial of the Bixemans’ claim of slander of title because Hunter’s Run knew the lien placed on their home was invalid but refused to release it. Remands for determination whether the couple was damaged by the slander of title, and if so, to what extent, as well as to enter findings on attorney fees.

Opinions June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael A. Miller v. St. Joseph County, et al.

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Rudy Lozano.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Miller’s lawsuit claiming he had been discriminated against because he’s African-American. There is no evidence that the denial of his requests to fill two spots considered promotions were based on his race and he always retained his status as sergeant and same pay and benefits when he began working in the property room.

Opinions June 9, 2015

June 9, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Kimberly S. Earl and the Estate of Jerry Earl
Civil tort. Affirms admission of Jerry Earl’s uninsured motorist policy limits into evidence at a trial involving State Farm, finding no error given the substantial evidence and correct jury instructions. Declines to create a bright-line rule involving the admission of coverage limits at trial.

Opinions June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jake Gruber, Jill Sherman, & Jake Gruber b/n/f Jill Sherman v. YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, Ruth Lilly YMCA Outdoor Center, & Flat Rock River YMCA Resident Camp

Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of YMCA defendants in a suit brought by the parents of a child bitten by a pig at a camp. The panel declined to change the standard to strict liability for owners of animals from the general rule that owners of domestic animals are liable only if the owner knows or has reason to know that the animal has dangerous propensities.

Opinions June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bertram A. Graves, M.D. v. Indiana University Health, f/k/a Clarian Health Partners, Inc., Richard Kovacs, M.D., and Edward Ross, M.D.
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for IU Health defendants in a breach-of-contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit brought by a cardiologist whose privileges were revoked. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment and the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Graves’ motion to compel and in striking parts of his affidavit.

Opinions June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of, M.W., (Minor Child) and, J.W., (Mother) v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the mother’s motion for a continuance of the termination of the parental rights hearing.

Opinions June 3, 2015

June 3, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Jason and Justina Kramer v. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc.
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Catholic Charities on the Kramers’ lawsuit alleging negligence after the baby they adopted through the agency was returned to her father eight months later after he contested the adoption. The Kramers failed to demonstrate that Catholic Charities had any duties with respect to the putative father registry in excess of its statutory obligation. Justice Dickson dissents with separate opinion.

Opinions June 2, 2015

June 2, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Tommy R. Pruitt v. Ron Neal, Superintendent, Indiana State Prison
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Post conviction. Reverses death sentence for Tommy Pruitt, convicted of murder for killing Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Starnes in 2001. Pruitt has established that he is intellectually disabled and categorically ineligible for the death penalty and that trial counsel were ineffective in their investigation and presentation of evidence that Pruitt suffered from schizophrenia. Remands for new penalty-phase proceeding.

Opinions June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Shane Kervin v. La Clair Barnes, et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge James T. Moody. Affirms dismissal of Kervin’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit alleging that as a prisoner, his rights were violated when he was placed in solitary confinement and denied privileges as punishment for complaining about a delay in being allowed to see his attorney. The court ruled Kervin’s backtalk to guards was the basis for his punishment, which was neither “atypical,” “significant,” nor “a dramatic departure from the basic conditions” of his sentence as required for such claims under Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484-85 (1995).


Opinions May 29, 2015

May 29, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Scott Zerbe

Criminal. Reverses a trial court ruling granting Zerbe’s petition to remove his name from the Sex Offender Registry. Zerbe was required to register as a sex offender for a Michigan offense committed in 1992 when he moved to here in 2012. Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry, enacted in 1994, is not unconstitutional as applied to Zerbe.

Opinions May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry Huber v. Roger Hamilton
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court ruling that the buyer of land, Terry Huber, breached the land contract when he failed to make the balloon payment when it was originally due. The oral agreement between the parties to modify the written land contract is unenforceable because it was not reduced to writing.

Opinions May 27, 2015

May 27, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tommy Lampley v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation. Lampley admitted to participating in unlawful conduct during his probationary period.

Opinions May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015
Indiana Tax Court
Marion County Auditor v. State of Indiana
Tax. Grants the state’s motion to dismiss the auditor’s action challenging the constitutionality of I.C. 6-1.1-15-12. The auditor does not have statutory or common law standing to appeal the PTABOA’s decision on Grandville’s Forms 133 to the Tax Court.

Opinions May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Charles D. Howard v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, Class B misdemeanor harassment, Class B misdemeanor public intoxication, and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The trial court issued a ruling on Howard’s motion to suppress/dismiss. Howard did not object to the admission of evidence at trial; (2) the state did not introduce or seek to admit into evidence any of Howard’s post-arrest statements; and (3) Howard did not file a motion for discharge under Criminal Rule 4 or object to the trial court’s setting of any of his trial dates.

Opinions May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

Opinions May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
University of Notre Dame v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, et al., and Jane Doe 3
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Civil. Affirms denial of preliminary relief requested by Notre Dame against having to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate pending a trial. Notre Dame has not yet established its right to the injunctive relief it is seeking before trial and majority believes a trial on the merits is necessary. Judge Hamilton concurs in separate opinion; Judge Flaum dissents in separate opinion.
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