Opinions April 30, 2013

April 30, 2013
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The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
Kooshtard Property VIII, LLC v. Shelby County Assessor
Tax. The Indiana Board of Tax Review correctly found that Kooshtard failed to establish a prima facie case that its land was overassessed. Kooshtard offered nothing more than conclusory statements and previously rejected arguments in challenging the propriety of its land assessments.

Tuesday’s opinions

Indiana Court of Appeals
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v. Robert Holland

Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment on Holland’s quiet title action and remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in Countrywide’s favor. Affirms dismissal of Holland’s common-law lien claim and remands with instructions to vacate the award of nominal damages. Holland is not entitled to summary judgment on the merits of his quiet title claim.

Vincennes University by the Board of Trustees of Vincennes v. Daniel E. Sparks
Civil plenary. Reverses jury verdict in Sparks’ favor on his lawsuit filed after the university did not renew his contract. There is no genuine issue of material fact, the designated evidence indicates that Sparks was not guaranteed employment with the university, and summary judgment should have been granted for the school.

Glenn Parker, As Trustee Under the Revocable Declaration of Trust Agreement of Glenn Parker, Individually and Phyllis C. Parker, Individually v. Obert's Legacy Dairy, LLC
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the dairy on the Parkers’ nuisance claim. The Indiana Right to Farm Act bars their nuisance claim.

Ruben Pazmino v. Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP

Civil collections. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Bose McKinney & Evans in the amount of $11,174.20 for work the firm did for Pazmino. There is a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Pazmino was acting on his own behalf or on behalf of Buena Vista Realty Group when he sought the firm’s services. Neither party is entitled to summary judgment at this time. Remands for further proceedings.

Kendall Johnson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentences for murder and Class C felony battery. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to instruct the jury on reckless homicide because the evidence did not support such an instruction. Finds sentence is appropriate.

John A. Hutchinson v. The City of Madison
Civil collections. Affirms dismissal without prejudice of the counterclaim for appropriation of a portion of Hutchinson’s real estate filed by the city of Madison, and affirms determination that an interlocal agreement between the city and Jefferson County was valid. Hutchinson could not establish that the city did not have the authority to acquire his property through eminent domain proceedings generally.

Phillip J. Troyer v. Tracy L. Troyer
Domestic relation. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in valuing and dividing the marital estate; the trial court exceeded its statutory authority in retroactively increasing the husband’s child support and healthcare expenses; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying husband’s petition for attorney fees; the trial court did fail to rule on husband’s request for wife to reimburse him for her share of K.T.’s private school expenses; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the parties joint legal custody of K.T.; and husband’s appeal is neither frivolous nor in bad faith, and therefore wife is not entitled to attorney fees pursuant to Appellate Rule 66(E). Judge Kirsch dissented in part.

In the Matter of: R.S. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services, and S.S. (Mother) & B.M. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services

Juvenile. Reverses determination infant R.S. is a child in need of services. There is insufficient evidence to support the determination.

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Poet Biorefining-North Manchester, LLC; Poet Biorefining-Cloverdale, LLC; Central Indiana Ethanol, Inc., et al.
Miscellaneous. Reverses trial court reversal of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Environmental Adjudication’s determination that fuel-grade ethanol production plants should have been categorized as “chemical process plants.” The state could not properly exclude these plants from the category of “chemical process plants” without Environmental Protection Agency approval of a modification to the Indiana State Implementation Plan. Ethanol plants remain “chemical process plants.”

John Gresser and Janice Gresser, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Company, Inc.; Dowelanco n/k/a Dow Agrosciences LLC; and Reliable Exterminators, Inc.
Civil tort. The trial court correctly granted Dow’s summary judgment motion on the Gressers’ failure to warn claims under the Indiana Product Liability Act. The trial court erred in denying Dow’s related summary judgment motion on the Gressers’ failure to satisfy IPLA requirements. The trial court improvidently granted Dow’s summary judgment motion pertaining to federal preemption. The trial court correctly denied Reliable’s motion to exclude the Gressers’ expert witnesses. The trial court also correctly denied Reliable’s summary judgment motions pertaining to the Gressers’ negligence claims and to the possibility of a punitive damage award. The trial court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of Reliable on the issue of federal preemption. Remands for further proceedings.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of R.R. and T.R.; R.R. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Juan Murillo Bravo v. Silvia Bravo and Rancho Bravo, Inc. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms award of attorney fees to Silvia Bravo and Rancho Bravo Inc. as a result of a discovery dispute. Remands with instructions to determine Rancho Bravo’s reasonable appellate attorney fees and to order Juan Murillo Bravo to pay that amount.

John F. Girvin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Remands for trial court to vacate Girvin’s conviction for vicarious sexual gratification because of double jeopardy and to revise his sentence with respect to credit time. Affirms in all other repsects.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of A.S.: K.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Jerry D. Boyce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony battery by bodily waste, Class A misdemeanor battery and Class B misdemeanor battery.

Edward Lay v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and 140-year sentence.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.C., a/k/a R.L., and A.L., Minor Children; S.L., Father v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Nelson Rios v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Joshua D. Gaunt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following plea agreement to Class C felony aiding, inducing or causing burglary; the Probation Condition 18 is not impermissibly vague; and the order Gaunt pay $300 in public defender fees. Remands with instructions to amend restitution order such that there is no duplicate recovery and establish a payment plan or schedule.

Donna Chapman and Lora Hoagland v. Central Indiana Educational Service Center and Franklin Township Community School Corporation (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms dismissal of Chapman’s claim against CIESC for failure to state a claim.

Douglas R. Bartel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Dismisses Bartel’s belated appeal from the revocation of his probation in two causes; finds he did not receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel in another cause. Affirms conviction of Class D felony operation of a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic offender and the sentence in all respects.

Allstate Insurance Company, As Subrogee of Juan R. Lopez, III v. Brenda J. Faulkner (NFP)
Civil tort. Reverses partial grant of Faulkner’s motion for relief from judgment.

Shawn E. Voorhies v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A felony burglary resulting in serious bodily injury.

In the Matter of the Guardianship of the Person of H.M., S.M.M. and M.M., and S.E.M. v. D.L.M. and In the Matter of the Paternity of H.M., S.E.M. v. D.L.M. (NFP)
Guardianship. Affirms temporary order of child support, which ordered D.L.M., H.M.’s father, to pay guardians $158.88 per week. Remands with instructions that the trial court unify this case within one magistrate’s court to clarify father’s child support obligation pursuant to a completed and signed child support obligation worksheet and issue the orders it deems appropriate.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: D.P. v. Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center (NFP)
Mental health. Affirms temporary commitment for mental health reasons.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court posted no decisions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues