Opinions

Editorial - SB 590: An Arizona-style invitation for litigation

March 16, 2011
The past weeks have brought heated debate about immigration policy to our state. The Indiana General Assembly is currently considering various anti-immigrant bills. Among them is Senate Bill 590, modeled after Arizona’s immigration law. Currently being challenged in Federal District Court on constitutional grounds, Arizona’s law has invited much criticism and proved costly to the state’s economy. Indiana should not be next in line.
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Morris: Internet is the Wild West of blog posting

March 16, 2011
When you post a comment to a story on a media website, you are responsible for your words. At least that is the case at this time. Contrary to that opinion, many people think hiding behind an anonymous identity online should be a protected right.
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Limitation of liability provision enforceable

March 16, 2011
David Temple
On March 2, 2011, the federal district court in Indianapolis issued a rather innocuous and unassuming opinion in SAMS Hotel Group, LLC v. Environs, Inc. (S.D. Ind. 2011), No. 1:09-CV-00930-TWP-TAB. However, its ramifications may be far-reaching and are surely welcomed by design professionals working on projects in Indiana.
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Opinions March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011
Indiana Supreme Court
Debra L. Walker v. David M. Pullen
64S05-1101-CT-6
Civil tort. Reverses grant of Pullen’s motion to have a new trial and remands for the trial court to reinstate the original jury verdict of $10,070. The trial court judge only made general findings and not special findings as required by Indiana Trial Rule 59(J). Justice Dickson concurs in result.
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Opinions March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In Re: Gerald W. Davis Jr.; Linda Reeves v. Gerald W. Davis Jr.
10-2757
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Civil. Affirms District Court’s affirmation of the bankruptcy court ruling that Davis’ debt owed to Reeves was dischargeable. There was no finding of fraudulent intent on Davis’ part, as is required for the application of 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(2) to prevent Davis’ debt to Reeves from being dischargeable. The decision in United States v. Childs forecloses a challenge to the reasonableness of the traffic stop.

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Opinions March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Molly C. Wilson v. Charles W. Wilson (NFP)
62A04-1004-DR-269
Domestic relation. Affirms order dissolving marriage and distributing marital property.
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Opinions March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011

Indiana Court of Appeals
Paternity of X.K.T.; J.L.H. v. B.L.T. (NFP)
67A01-1005-JP-212
Juvenile. Dismisses father’s appeal of the trial court order against him finding him in contempt for failure to pay child support.
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Opinions March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Peggy Abner and Linda Kendall v. Scott Memorial Hospital
10-2713
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Denies motion to file an oversized brief and affirms summary judgment for Scott Memorial Hospital in a suit under the False Claims Act. Finds the appeal has no merit and the appellant’s attorney flagrantly violated the word limit for the brief.
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Opinions March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Lisa Gray v. State of Indiana
82A01-1005-CR-223
Criminal. Reverses Gray’s conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor. She contended there was insufficient evidence that she constructively possessed the marijuana. Judge Cale Bradford dissents, writing that Gray was in close proximity to the marijuana and that it was in plain view, as officers had testified at trial.
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Opinions March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Martin Avila
09-2681
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Affirms 365-month sentence for drug offenses following re-sentencing on remand. The District Court corrected the drug quantity attributable to Avila. The District Court did not violate the cross-appeal rule and acted within the scope of the remand.
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Opinions March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In Re: Rich Bergeron
10-3279
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Denies Bergeron’s petition for mandamus removing Judge Barker from Eppley v. Iacovelli, pending in the District Court. Bergeron is involved in that suit and was held in contempt for not removing web postings. Regarding Bergeron’s contempt proceeding, Bergeron didn’t ask the 7th Circuit to stay the proceeding in the District Court and it’s now too late to order the judge removed from the case because she’s through with it. The appearance of impropriety in this case is too attenuated to justify that extraordinary remedy.
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Opinions March 3, 2011

March 3, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, Inc. v. Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, et al.
49A02-1002-PL-125
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers’ motion for a preliminary injunction against the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to enjoin the commission from issuing new beer dealer’s permits in locations in which the statutory limits on the number of beer dealer’s permits have been met or exceeded. The Commission’s interpretation of 7.1-3 is reasonable and doesn’t violate Title 7.1. The IABR also failed to show its members are likely to suffer irreparable harm if no injunction is issued.
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Opinions March 2, 2011

March 2, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
County Council of Porter County v. Northwest Indiana Regional Dev. Authority, et al.
37A04-1004-CT-291
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the denial of the council’s motion for summary judgment on the council’s complaint seeking declaratory judgment it has the right to withdraw from the RDA. Porter County cannot withdraw from the RDA and the council waived its argument that the original legislation establishing the RDA Act is unconstitutional special legislation.
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Opinions March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Gary Hughes
18A02-1006-PL-659
Civil. Reverses and remands entry of judgment in favor of appellee-plaintiff Gary Hughes on his contract claim in the amount of $166,792.83. Auto-Owners contends, inter alia, that the trial court erred in denying its summary judgment motion on the basis that Hughes’ suit was barred by a one-year limitation in the relevant insurance policy.
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Opinions Feb. 28, 2011

February 28, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
David E. Schalk v. State of Indiana
53A01-1005-CR-210
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor attempted possession of marijuana. Schalk arranged a drug buy to try to discredit a witness against his client. An attorney is not exempt from criminal law even if his only purpose is the defense of his client.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2011

February 25, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian Holtzleiter v. Angela Holtzleiter
48A02-1006-DR-736
Domestic relation. Reverses denial of Brian’s petition to modify child support. He hasn’t waived his argument that he is entitled to modification of child support under the requirement that the current support obligation was 20 percent different from what would be required under the guidelines and it had been at least a year since the support order was issued. Remands for the issuance of a new child support order.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2011

February 24, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
French C. Mason v. State of Indiana
49A02-1005-CR-475
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felonies resisting law enforcement and unlawful use of body armor. The trial court had sufficient evidence to show Mason resisted law enforcement and his crime rose to the Class D felony level and to conclude Mason intended to wear body armor in the aid of the felony of resisting law enforcement through the use of a vehicle.
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Opinions Feb. 23, 2011

February 23, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Debra K. Sands v. Helen HCI, LLC
06A01-1005-CC-231
Civil collections. Reverses denial of Sands’ motion to enforce a settlement agreement between herself, Helen HCI LLC and two other companies, providing for dismissal with prejudice of Helen HCI’s complaint against Sands in Indiana and dismissal with prejudice of Sands’ complaint against Helen HCI and the other companies in a Wisconsin suit. The parties entered into a binding contract which required the subsequent execution of a document memorializing their agreement and there is no uncertainty as to any substantial term of the settlement contract.
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Opinions Feb. 22, 2011

February 22, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Roger D. Slone
09-4089
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Rudy Lozano.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and sentence of 120 months in prison. The search incident to his arrest was reasonable and the vehicle evidence was properly admitted against him.
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Opinions Feb. 21, 2011

February 21, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Joshua Burke v. State of Indiana
49A02-1006-CR-660
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary. Indiana Code Section 35-43-2-1(1)(B)(ii), which enhances burglary from a Class C felony to Class B felony if the building or structure burgled is used for religious worship, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Opinions Feb. 18, 2011

February 18, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of M.W.; M.W. v. I.D.C.S.
32A01-1007-JT-322
Juvenile. Reverses termination of parental rights. Given the father’s efforts to comply with the amended plan and his release from incarceration soon after the hearing date, the trial court’s findings aren’t supported by clear and convincing evidence.
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Opinions Feb. 17, 2011

February 17, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ahmad Foster v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1005-CR-579
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to modify sentence.
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Opinions Feb. 16, 2011

February 16, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jeff Whitely, et al. v. Anthony Moravec, et al.
09-3302
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge David F. Hamilton.
Civil. Plaintiffs sued an Indiana company incorporated in New York to satisfy the penalty claims after the Indiana company entered into bankruptcy and was late paying wages and fringe benefits. Affirms the District Court correctly concluded that New York Bus. Corp. L. Section 630(a) doesn’t make defendants liable for a penalty under Indiana law.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2011

February 15, 2011
Indiana Court of Appeals
K.D., et al. Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; S.S. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, et al.
49A02-1004-JC-462
Juvenile. Reverses and remands juvenile court’s adjudication that the appellant-respondent’s stepchildren were children in need of services. Concludes that where, as here, one party admits to CHINS allegations while another denies them, due process entitles the contesting party to a fact-finding hearing and adjudication. The mother admitted to the allegations in the petition, but the stepfather denied the allegations and requested a fact-finding hearing.
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Opinions Feb. 14, 2011

February 14, 2011
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cynthia Kartman, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al.
09-1725
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses District Court ruling that a class claim for injunctive relief could proceed under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(2) and certification of a class to determine whether State Farm should be required to re-inspect policyholders’ roofs pursuant to a uniform and objective standard. There is no contract or tort-based duty requiring the insurer to use a particular standard for assessing hail damage. Also, the requested injunction is neither appropriate nor final.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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