Opinions

Opinions Dec. 16, 2015

December 16, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Jeffrey Hewitt v. Westfield Washington School Corporation, et al.
29S04-1506-PL-377
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the school corporation on Hewitt’s lawsuit after he was terminated as principal of an elementary school for being involved in a sexual relationship with a teacher, one of his subordinates. In a case of first impression, holds that the teacher’s termination statute, I.C. 20-28-7.5-1 et seq., does not apply to termination of an administrator when his underlying teaching contract is not being terminated. Holds that the provisions in the form teacher’s contract that make reference to an opportunity for hearing and a just cause determination also apply only to the termination of an administrator’s underlying teaching contract.
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Opinions Dec. 15, 2015

December 15, 2015
Opinions Dec. 15, 2015
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

The following opinion was posted yesterday after IL deadline:
Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, et al. v. David Cook, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commmission
14-2559
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana. Finds convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations did not meet their burden to show that the state law limiting the sale of cold beer violates the Equal Protection Clause.
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Opinions Dec. 14, 2015

December 14, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
F. John Rogers, as Personal Representative of Paul Michalik, Deceased, and R. David Boyer, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of Jerry Lee Chambers v. Angela Martin and Brian Paul Brothers
02A05-1506-CT-520
Civil tort. Reverses trial court orders granting Angela Martin’s motion to strike and motion for summary judgment. The question of whether Martin is liable under the Dram Shop Act for furnishing alcohol to an intoxicated person, who later died after attending a party at the house she shared with Brian Paul Brothers, is a factual issue to be resolved at trial. Finds Martin as the host of a party had a duty to exercise reasonable care and render aid after she saw Paul Michalik unconscious after drinking and being involved in a fight, and questions of fact remain as to whether she breached that duty.
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Opinions Dec. 11, 2015

December 11, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Wayne Patton v. Jessica Patton

17A04-1503-DR-137
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s motion for modification of visitation, finding the trial court struck a balance that addresses the concerns of all, while still providing father with opportunities for more rewarding parenting time with W.P. immediately and in the future. Reverses portion denying his modification of child support, finding the emancipation of daughter Ja. P. was a substantial and continuing change to justify modification. Remands for modification of support obligation to become $136.42 per week.
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Opinions Dec. 10, 2015

December 10, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ronald L. Eckelbarger v. State of Indiana
90A02-1503-CR-188
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and one count of Class D felony possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Eckelbarger’s convictions do not violate double jeopardy, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering consecutive sentences, and his 32-year sentence is not inappropriate. Judge Riley dissents in part.
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Opinions Dec. 9, 2015

December 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Chuck W. Adams, Charles E. Howard, et al. v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., et al.
49A02-1406-PL-465
Civil plenary. Reverses the grant of ArvinMeritor and state defendants’ Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim for unpaid wages because Adams, a Department of Correction inmate, has a private right of action to pursue his wage claim. Affirms summary judgment to the defendants on his personal injury claim because Adams had an available administrative remedy but failed to pursue it to completion. Concludes Adams was allowed to participate in a hearing on a number of motions through the submission of documentary evidence. Judge May dissents.
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Opinions Dec. 8, 2015

December 8, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Stacy Knighten v. East Chicago Housing Authority, Individually and d/b/a West Calumet Complex, Davis Security Service, LLC, and Donnell Caldwell

45S04-1512-CT-686
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Davis Security on Knighten’s complaint under the theory of respondeat superior. There is conflicting evidence as to the scope and extent of Caldwell’s duties and responsibilities as an employee of Davis Security.
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Opinions Dec. 7, 2015

December 7, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Phillip Whitley v. State of Indiana
49A02-1501-CR-50
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the denial of Whitley’s motion to suppress evidence found during an inventory search of the vehicle Whitley was driving. Even though officers did not follow police procedure for inventorying a vehicle, there is nothing to indicate the search was a pretext for a narcotics investigation.
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Opinions Dec. 4, 2015

December 4, 2015
The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday.
Marion County Assessor v. Gateway Arthur, Inc.

49T10-1212-TA-82
Tax. Affirms the decision by the Indiana Board of Tax Review to reduce Gateway Arthur Inc.’s real property assessment for the 2006 tax year. The board did not err in determining that the assessor rather than Gateway Arthur bore the burden of proof regarding the assessment, in determining that the assessor’s evidence lacked probative value, or in valuing the subject property at $10.5 million for the 2006 tax year.
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Opinions Dec. 3, 2015

December 3, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Roger S. Blackman v. Karen A. Gholson and James W. Blackman
52A02-1412-ES-883
Estate, supervised. Affirms dismissal of Roger Blackman’s will contest action and subsequent denial of his motion to correct error. Finds the trial court erred in dismissing the suit based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, as it did have jurisdiction over Blackman’s attempted will contest action. But it was appropriate to dismiss the action due to his failure to comply with the statutes and rules for initiating such an action. His failure to pay the filing fee for the action precludes reliance upon the Journey’s Account Statute to allow him to re-file. Denies Karen Gholson and James Blackman’s request for appellate attorney fees.
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Opinions Dec. 2, 2015

December 2, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
Christopher Schmidt v. Indiana Insurance Company, C&F Insurance Group, LLC, and Bart Stith
22S01-1507-PL-412
Civil plenary. Reverses in part the trial court's entry of summary judgment for the insurance agency and insurance agent to the extent that it may apply to the Schmidt’s claim for negligent procurement of insurance, but directs the entry of partial summary judgment for the agents as to Schmidt’s claim alleging the agents failed to accurately report dwelling fire policy information to the insurance company. The agents failed to exclude the possibility that other types of fire insurance coverage for Schmidt’s rental property could have been obtained and issued. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana Insurance Co.
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Opinions Dec. 1, 2015

December 1, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: David J. Steele
49S00-1509-DI-527    
Attorney discipline. Disbars David J. Steele, who had been under emergency interim suspension since Sept. 4, for eight counts detailed in a verified complaint. Steele is accused of stealing about $150,000 from clients, disclosing client confidences for purposes of both retaliation and amusement, threatening and intimidating his office staff and lying pervasively to all comers. Disbarment is warranted based on the seriousness and brazenness of the conduct.
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Opinions Nov. 30, 2015

November 30, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of S.M., J.M., A.M., H.G., Children in Need of Services, A.M. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
49A02-1505-JC-377
Juvenile. Reverses CHINS adjudication of S.M., J.M., A.M. and H.G. Finds no evidence that the children were ever in danger or ever lacked food, shelter or love and care. Although mother has a history of sporadic marijuana use, she has passed every drug test given by DCS and her substance abuse assessment did not recommend her for substance abuse treatment. 
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Opinions Nov. 25, 2015

November 25, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryant Lamonte White v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
53A01-1501-CR-42
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence and conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance.
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Opinions Nov. 24, 2015

November 24, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Amit Shah and Tim Dugle v. Apex Pallet, Inc., Duro, Inc. d/b/a Recycled New Pallets, Duro Realty, Inc., Duro Transport, Inc., and Terry Rodino (mem. dec.)
44A05-1503-PL-115
Civil plenary. Reverses the grant of a motion to dismiss with prejudice made by defendants-appellees Apex Pallet Inc., Duro Inc., Duro Realty Inc., Duro Transport Inc. and Terry Rodino. Finds Dugle and Shah’s amended complaint filing was timely as it complied with the 30-day deadline set forth by the court.
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Opinions Nov. 23, 2015

November 23, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ralph Jackson v. State of Indiana
34A02-1505-CR-453
Criminal. Reverses 20-year sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in a Schedule II controlled substance. The trial court does not have the option of selecting a sentence based solely on the defendant’s conduct apart from the circumstances of the crime. Because the trial court did not issue an adequate sentencing statement, it abused its sentencing discretion.
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Opinions Nov. 20, 2015

November 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tyrone Causey v. State of Indiana
49A02-1503-CR-185
Criminal. Reverses Causey’s conviction of Class D felony intimidation. The state failed to present sufficient evidence from which a jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Causey communicated a threat to the officers that was intended to place them in fear of retaliation for responding to a call at his residence. 
 
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Opinions Nov. 19, 2015

November 19, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Mary K. Patchett v. Ashley N. Lee
29A04-1501-CT-1
Civil tort. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the grant of a motion in limine filed by Lee and order that evidence of payments made by the Healthy Indiana Plan to reimburse Lee’s medical providers in full satisfaction of her bills was barred by the collateral source statute and is not admissible under Indiana case law. Determines that the rule of Stanley applies only to lower paid amounts when those amounts are the result of negotiated discounts and therefore are probative of a medical service’s reasonable value.
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Opinions Nov. 18, 2015

November 18, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Ada Brown v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
87A01-1501-PL-38
Civil plenary. Reverses imposition of a transfer penalty by FSSA against Brown, after finding she is eligible for Medicaid benefits, based on the sale of Brown’s home in 2010. Evidence shows the proceeds from the sale of the home were placed back in her irrevocable trust and the fair market value of her home was $75,000, not $91,900 as FSSA had valued it.
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Opinions Nov. 17, 2015

November 17, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Luis Fuerte v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
45A03-1501-CR-15
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 19-year executed sentence and convictions of Class B felony attempted incest, Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony sexual battery.
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Opinions Nov. 16, 2015

November 16, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
John Belork v. Robin Latimer, Davis Township Trustee and DMK&H Farms, Inc.
75A04-1503-MI-100
Miscellaneous. Affirms grant of appellees’ motion for judgment. Rules the fences that Belork wants his neighbors to help build along the southern and eastern boundaries of his property do not constitute partition fences under Indiana Code 32-26-9. Finds the statute does not apply in this situation because the neighbors would not derive a benefit from the fences.  
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Opinions Nov. 13, 2015

November 13, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jay Classroom Teachers Association v. Jay School Corporation and Indiana Education Employment Relation Board
49A05-1412-PL-586
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court order affirming the order of the Indiana Education Employment Relation Board and remands to the board for proceeding. A provision of the Jay Classroom Teachers Association contract allowing additional compensation for ancillary duties, including covering another teacher’s class, was not impermissible and should not have been stricken by the board. The board also erred in allowing a provision permitting the superintendent to set salaries of teachers hired after the start of the school year. The provision was impermissible and should have been stricken by the board.
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Opinions Nov. 12, 2015

November 12, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Madison County Board of Commissioners and Madison County Highway Department v. American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3609
33A05-1505-PL-409
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the union on the county’s motion to correct or vacate the arbitrator’s award, in which it reduced two union workers’ discipline from termination to a five-day unpaid layoff. The county circumvented the collective bargaining agreements’ progressive discipline scheme and the CBA does not require discharge for the infractions committed by the employees or prohibit the arbitrator from reducing an employee’s punishment.
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Opinions Nov. 10, 2015

November 10, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court
John Hernandez v. State of Indiana
49S02-1511-CR-644
Criminal. Holds it was an error for the trial court to have refused giving Hernandez’s tendered final jury instruction on the defense of necessity because Hernandez presented some evidence to support the instruction. Vacates Hernandez’s Class A misdemeanor conviction of carrying a handgun without a license and remands for a new trial.
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Opinions Nov. 9, 2015

November 9, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert L. Woods v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
27A05-1502-CR-61
Criminal. Affirms Woods’ convictions of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and 100-year sentence.
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  1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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