Opinions

Opinions March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Paul Dimmett v. Carolyn Colvin
15-2233
United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil/Social Security disability. Reverses grant of summary judgment in favor of the Social Secuirty Administration. The denial was not a reasonable analysis of the plaintiff's claim and served to rubber stamp the agency's denial of benefits for a 33-year sheet metal journeyman who sought disability benefits due to chronic breathing difficulties and possible exposure to asbestos.
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Opinions March 11, 2016

March 11, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals

Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc., and Hammond Gavit High School v. Nasir Cade, et al.
45A03-1503-PL-84
Civil plenary. Reverses preliminary injunction granted in favor of the high schools and players. Remands for dismissal of claims brought by students who would have been banned from participating in the IHSAA boys’ basketball state tournament because their claims are now moot. COA says trial court erred by concluding the schools demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits and remands to trial court.
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Opinions March 10, 2016

March 10, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tricia A. Davis Williams v. State of Indiana
29A02-1506-CR-528
Criminal. Affirms Tricia A. Davis Williams’ sentencing order after she pleaded guilty to one count of Class D felony theft. Her placement in the Department of Correction is not inappropriate.
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Opinions March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
David Lee Marshall v. State of Indiana
20A03-1507-MI-973
Criminal. Affirms the denial of David Lee Marshall’s petition for expungement, holding the trial court could properly find, based upon Marshall’s own admission, that he had committed a crime in the relevant time period and was not entitled to the requested relief. 
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Opinions March 8, 2016

March 8, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Tyrone Grayson v. State of Indiana

49A05-1505-CR-350
Criminal. Affirms Tyrone Grayson’s conviction of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. An anonymous tip was sufficient probable cause for police to stop Grayson’s vehicle, where a handgun was found in plain sight.
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Opinions March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016
Indiana Tax Court

Nick Popovich v Ind. Dept. of State Revenue
49T10-1010-TA-53
Awards Nick Popovich $24,963 for successfully prosecuting his first motion to compel.

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Opinions March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Aduwali Abdukhadir Muse v. Charles A. Daniels, Warden, FCI Terre Haute
15-2646
Civil. Affirms denial of writ of habeas corpus because Muse waived the right to challenge his guilty plea based on his age when he pleaded guilty.
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Opinions March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Caterpillar Inc. v. William Sudlow
79A02-1507-CT-801
Civil tort. Reverses and remands summary judgment for William Sudlow in favor of Caterpillar Inc. after it found Sudlow is not entitled to relief under statute or common law. Sudlow was a Caterpillar employee who was fired after another employee observed a partially visible gun in his vehicle in the Caterpillar parking lot.
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Opinions March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Ashonta Kenya Jackson v. State of Indiana
48S02-1509-CR-554
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony corrupt business influence, holding that Indiana’s Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organizations Act does not contain a continuity element, but rather a requirement that the pattern of crimes are “not isolated.” The evidence was sufficient to show the underlying robberies Jackson was convicted of were not isolated. Remands for revision of the sentencing order to indicate which offense was enhanced by the habitual offender adjudication.
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Opinions March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Austin Blaize v State of Indiana
26S00-14-10-LW-771
Life without parole. Affirms convictions of murder, burglary and other charges and Austin Blaize’s sentence of life without parole and a term of years. Comments made by the judge to the jury do not require reversal and a new trial.
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Opinions Feb. 29, 2016

February 29, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Edward Skillman v. Ivy Tech Community College
49A04-1509-PL-1279
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Ivy Tech on Skillman’s claim under the Indiana Wage Payment Act. Ivy Tech is not an “employer” for purposes of the Indiana Minimum Wage Law because it is “subject to” federal Fair Labor Standards Ac requirements, even if Skillman cannot personally enforce FLSA requirements against Ivy Tech.
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Opinions Feb. 26, 2016

February 26, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Timothy L. Coats v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A03-1510-CR-1657
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement.
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Opinions Feb. 25, 2016

February 25, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
John H. Hill v. State of Indiana
20A03-1507-CR-907
Criminal. Affirms John Hill’s convictions of criminal confinement, a Class C felony, domestic battery, a Class D felony, domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor and interference with the reporting of a crime, a Class A misdemeanor.  The state did not interfere with his defense by moving to exclude the testimony of a witness.
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Opinions Feb. 24, 2016

February 24, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Billy Luke v. State of Indiana
15A01-1409-CR-407
Criminal. Affirms Billy Luke’s convictions for invasion of privacy as Class D felonies and the revocation of his probation. Remands with instructions to vacate Luke’s conviction for stalking as a Class C felony because of a double jeopardy violation.
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Opinions Feb. 23, 2016

February 23, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Kathy Ann Stark v. Carolyn W. Colvin

15-2352
US District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
Joseph S. Van Bokkelen, Judge.
Civil. Remands denial of disability insurance benefits to Social Security Administration, finding the administrative law judge applied flawed analyses to deny Stark’s claim.
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Opinions Feb. 22, 2016

February 22, 2016
The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was issued after IL deadline Friday.

USA vs. Lon Campbell
15-1188
US District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Tonya Walton Pratt, Judge.
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of Campbell’s sentence of 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release because he waived his right to appeal in district court.

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Opinions Feb. 18, 2016

February 18, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
David W. Gerth v. State of Indiana
29A02-1506-CR-693
Criminal. Reverses David Gerth’s convictions for Class C felony dealing in marijuana and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

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Opinions Feb. 17, 2016

February 17, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
In Re: Biglari Holdings Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation. Chad Taylor and Edward Donahue v. Sardar Biglari
15-1828
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms ruling there was no demand futility in three transactions which sold holdings to Biglari Holdings CEO Sardar Biglari.
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Opinions Feb. 16, 2016

February 16, 2016
Indiana Supreme Court
Tom Bonnell v. Ruby A. Cotner, Douglas Wayne Cotner, Arthur J. Johnson, Jimmy J. Johnson, and Jerry L. Johnson
66S03-1509-PL-530
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Cotners’ adverse possession claim and reverses the grant of a prescriptive easement, finding that the sale of the 35-foot-wide strip of land by tax deed extinguished any and all interest the Cotners previously possessed.
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Opinions Feb. 15, 2016

February 15, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Takesha Lashawn Sanders v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
45A04-1506-CR-648
Criminal. Affirms conviction of guilty but mentally ill of murder after a jury trial.

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Opinions Feb. 12, 2016

February 12, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
David J. and Susan L. MacFadyen v. City of Angola, City of Angola Plan Commission, and Trine University, Inc.

17A03-1506-CT-556
Civil tort. Affirms decision by the Angola Plan Commission to vacate a portion of an alley on Trine University property near the MacFadyens’ property. The MacFadyens did not show they were aggrieved by the vacation.
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Opinions Feb. 10, 2016

February 10, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas A. Ambrose II v. Dalton Construction, Inc.

29A02-1407-CC-479
Civil collection. Clarifies on rehearing that there is a statutory requirement that modifications to a home improvement contract must be in writing, notwithstanding the language in Sees v. Bank One, Ind., N.A., 839, N.E.2d 154, 161 (Ind. 2005). But this does not change the result of the case and affirms denial of Ambrose’s motion for summary judgment and the entry of final judgment in favor of Dalton Construction on its complaint to foreclose a mechanic’s lien.
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Opinions Feb. 9, 2016

February 9, 2016
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Debbie A. Stage v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security
15-1837
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph Van Bokklelen.
Civil. Vacates the denial of Stage’s application for supplemental security income, disability insurance benefits and disabled widow’s benefits. Finds the medical evidence does not support the administrative law judge’s decision that Stage could stand or walk for six hours a day; stoop, crouch, occasionally climb ramps or stairs; and lift or carry up to 20 pounds. Remands for further consideration.
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Opinions Feb. 8, 2016

February 8, 2016
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Opinions Feb. 5, 2016

February 5, 2016
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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