Opinions

Opinions April 5, 2017

April 5, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Inc., Indiana Association for Community and Economic Development, Indiana Coalition for Human Services, et al. v. Indianapolis Power & Light Company, et al.
93A02-1604-EX-804
Agency. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of Indianapolis Power & Light Co.’s petition for approval of an increase to its base rates for provision of electricity, which had been in effect since 1995. Finds the joint intervenors have not shown that the commission decision approving a rate design that includes declining block rate is unsupported by requisite findings.
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Opinions April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph Lee Pierson v. State of Indiana
89A05-1306-CR-311
Criminal. Affirms Joseph Pierson’s conviction for neglect of a dependent resulting in death as a Class A felony. There is sufficient evidence from which a jury could find that Pierson acted in a knowing and voluntary manner. Also finds the parties in a criminal case are permitted to agree to use a video deposition. Finally, finds the full context of the experts’ remarks did not mislead the jury of the applicable legal standards.
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Opinions March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Luke M. Warren v. State of Indiana
87A01-1606-CR-1399
Criminal. Affirms Luke M. Warren’s convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class D felony possession of chemical reagents or precursors with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
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Opinions March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Eric Mains v. Citibank, N.A., et al.
16-1985
Appeal from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Eric Mains’ litigation challenging the impending foreclosure of his home. The state courts had resolved the claims he brought in the federal suit, so the district court properly dismissed the case. Modifies the judgment to show that most of his federal and state law claims are dismissed without prejudice and the remainder are dismissed with prejudice.
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Opinions March 28, 2017

March 28, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Wallace Irvin Smith, III
45S05-1611-CR-572
Criminal. Reverses the Lake Superior Court’s grant of Wallace Irvin Smith III’s petition to convert his Class D felony conviction of theft to a Class A misdemeanor pursuant to the amendment to Indiana Code 35-50-2-7. Finds the subsequent legislative amendment did not alter the unambiguous terms of Smith’s plea agreement, which held that he would be “precluded from asking for Misdemeanor treatment.”
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Opinions March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark H. Miller, II v. Leigh Anne Miller
49A02-1604-DR-817
Domestic relation. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s finding Mark H. Miller II is voluntarily underemployed. Reverses the trial court’s determination of his imputed income. The trial court did not clearly err in finding that Miller was voluntarily underemployed when he was simultaneously the children’s primary caregiver and a part-time college student during his marriage to Leigh Anne Miller, but he is now no longer the children’s primary caregiver. Finds the trial court determined his imputed income without evidence of prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community. Remands for a hearing.
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Opinions March 23, 2017

March 23, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
John E. Warner, Jr.; Rick Clay; Sam Early; Brian Goeglein; Mike Campbell; Brad Wilson; and John Zimmerman v. Chauffeurs, Teamsters, and Helpers Local Union No. 414 and Speedway Redi Mix, Inc.
02A04-1608-PL-2017
Civil plenary. Affirms in part and reverses in part. Affirms the trial court’s dismissal of drivers’ claim the union was receiving their dues in violation of Indiana’s right-to-work law and their associated claim of recovery of money had and received. The drivers’ claim based on the dues checkoffs is a claim over which Indiana courts have no jurisdiction.
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Opinions March 22, 2017

March 22, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lisa Gill, et al. v. Jeffrey B. Gill, et al.
20A03-1607-DR-1569
Domestic relation. Affirms the statutory authority allowing a trial court to order a divorced parent to contribute to his/her child’s post-secondary educational expenses is constitutional. Finds no abuse of discretion by the trial court with regard to crediting Jasen Simcox for certain nonconforming child support payments and basing his post-secondary education obligation on the cost of a public university rather than the private one his daughter attends.
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Opinions March 21, 2017

March 21, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of: N.C. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services and J.M. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
53A01-1610-JC-2479
Juvenile. Reverses trial court order finding that N.C. is a child in need of services and corresponding dispositional order giving wardship to the Department of Child Services and ordering father to comply with terms of a parent participation plan. DCS did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the coercive intervention of the court was necessary to ensure N.C.’s care, and the court clearly erred in adjudicating him a CHINS. Remands with instructions to vacate the CHINS finding.
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Opinions March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday:
USA v. Jeffrey Rothbard
16-3996
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Richard L. Young.
Criminal. Affirms Jeffrey Rothbard’s sentence of 24 months in prison for one count of wire fraud, despite the fact that he is an older man suffering from serious health problems. Finds that the district court gave sound reasons for its chosen sentence. Also finds that the evidence in the record before the district court and supplemental information requested about the Bureau of Prisons’ ability to provide appropriate care shows that the nominal 24-month sentence will not “spell doom” for Rothbard. Judge Richard Posner dissents with separate opinion.
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Opinions March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Marvin Beville v. State of Indiana
84S01-1606-CR-347
Criminal. Reverses the Vigo Superior Court’s decision to withhold a video recording of a controlled drug buy between Marvin Beville and a confidential informant. Finds the state failed to make the threshold showing that the informer’s privilege applied to the case because it is unclear whether the video would reveal the informant’s identity.
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Opinions March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Admiral Insurance Company v. Joseph Banasiak, et al.
45A05-1604-PL-859
Civil plenary. Reverses the denial of Admiral Insurance Co.’s motion for summary judgment and declaratory judgment in favor of the estate of Dr. Habib Zadeh. Finds that Indiana Code 34-18-13-4 does not require coverage of Jennifer Muehlman’s claim.
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Opinions March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Virginia E. Mourning v. Allison Transmission, Inc.
49A02-1608-MI-1822
Miscellaneous. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of Allison Transmission Inc.’s Trial Rule 12(C) motion for judgment on the pleadings on Virginia Mourning’s claims of tortious interference with an employment contract and defamation. Finds Mourning sufficiently pleaded her defamation claim, but not her tortious interference claim. Remands to give Mourning an opportunity to amend her complaint once as of right under Trial Rule 15(A).
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Opinions March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Lt. Henry G.L. McCullough and Princess S.D. Naro-McCullough v. CitiMortgage, Inc.
71S03-1605-MF-272
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms the grant of summary judgment that led to the foreclosure of Henry McCullough and Princess S.D. Naro-McCullough’s family homestead. Finds there are no genuine issues of material fact precluding summary disposition.
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Opinions March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday:
Henry C. Wedemeyer and Martha L. Wedemeyer v. CSX Transportation, Inc.
15-3580

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Senior Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Affirms the district court’s grant of summary judgment to CSX Transportation on Henry and Martha Wedemeyer’s lawsuit seeking removal of CSX tracks and possession of the real property underlying the rail line. Finds that the Wedemeyers’ claims are pre-empted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act.
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Opinions March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
James E. Manley v. Keith Butts
33A05-1608-MI-1865
Miscellaneous. Reverses the Henry Circuit Court’s order dismissing James E. Manley’s petition for writ of state habeas corpus as an unauthorized successive petition for post-conviction relief. Because Manley’s habeas petition is challenging the validity of his convictions and sentence, Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 1(1)(c) requires that, under such circumstances, a trial court to transfer the petition to the court where the petitioner was convicted. Remands with instructions to the trial court to transfer the petition to Manley’s conviction court, the Monroe Circuit Court, where it shall be treated as a post-conviction petition.
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Opinions March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jay Garrison v. Pamela Garrison
27A05-1603-EU-507
Estate, unsupervised. Affirms the Grant Superior Court’s order of the return of two of Thomas R. Garrison’s cars to his estate, finding that they were gifts causa mortis for which Garrison was not competent to form donative intent. Finds Jay Garrison has not rebutted the presumption of undue influence and the estate is entitled to recovery of the vehicles.
 
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Opinions March 8, 2017

March 8, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
Magic Circle Corp., D/B/A Dixie Chopper, Arthur Evans, Wesley Evans, and Jeffrey Haltom v. Crowe Horwath, LLP
71A03-1607-PL-1520
Civil plenary. Reverses and remands the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s grant of Crowe Horwath LLP’s motion to dismiss two counts brought against it by Magic Circle Corp. on the grounds the claims were barred by the economic loss rule and several exculpatory provisions. Finds the economic loss rule does not have the effect of barring an accountant malpractice claim at tort.

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Opinions March 7, 2017

March 7, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Donald Edward James
02S00-1607-DI-389
Disciplinary. Disbars Donald E. James. Finds that James committed attorney misconduct by mismanaging his trust account, converting client funds and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process.
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Opinions March 6, 2017

March 6, 2017
Indiana Supreme Court
Cheryl L. Underwood v. Thomas Bunger, in his capacity as the personal representative of the estate of Kenneth K. Kinney; Judith M. Fulford; and Sheree Demming
53S01-1703-MI-126
Miscellaneous. Reverses the Monroe Circuit Court’s decision that Judith Fulford and Kenneth Kinney were tenants by the entireties of a Bloomington property purchased with Cheryl Underwood. Finds that the warranty deed’s unambiguous statement that the three grantees, including Kinney and Fulford, hold their interests in the property “all as Tenants-in-Common” overcomes the legal presumption favoring a tenancy by the entirety. Also finds that Underwood did not make a fatal judicial admission in her trial court petition. Remands for proceedings.
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Opinions March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Caleb Riggen v. Tammy Riggen
67A04-1606-DR-1312
Domestic relation. Reverses the Putnam Superior Court’s grant of Tammy Riggen’s motion to correct error on its earlier grant of Caleb Riggen’s motion to modify custody of their child. Finds that the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the motion to correct error without providing a reason for doing so, contrary to Trial Rule 59(J). Remands with instructions to the trial court to comply with Trial Rule 59 when considering the motion to correct error.
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Opinions March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Larenda Jones v. State of Indiana
49A05-1606-CR-1433
Criminal. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s order revoking Larenda Jones’ placement in community correction and sentencing her to serve the remainder of her executed sentence in the Department of Correction. Finds that the trial court did not err in failing to inform Jones of her release date, but did err by refusing to let Jones speak in allocution. Remands. Judge John Baker concurs with separate opinion.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2017

February 28, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. C.K.
49A02-1607-JV-1506
Juvenile. Reverses the juvenile court’s denial of the state’s petition for the court to waive jurisdiction over C.K. in two cases. Finds that C.K.’s felony conviction qualified as a prior felony for purposes of Indiana Code 31-30-3-6 and that when both elements of that statute have been established, the “juvenile court shall waive jurisdiction.” Remands for further proceedings.
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Opinions Feb. 27, 2017

February 27, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ronnie D. Ball, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A03-1609-CR-2117
Criminal. Affirms Ronnie D. Ball’s three-year sentence for corrupt business influence as a Level 5 felony. Finds Ball’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense and his character.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2017

February 24, 2017
Indiana Court of Appeals
Emmett Reece Sandoval v. State of Indiana
21A01-1609-CR-2027
Criminal. Reverses the Fayette Circuit Court’s order that the balance of Emmett Reece Sandoval’s $2,000 bond be held in trust to be applied toward possible future appellate public defender fees. Finds it was an error for the trial court to hold the balance of Sandoval’s bond in trust. Remands with instructions to the clerk of the Fayette County Court to return the balance of Sandoval’s bond immediately.

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