Opinions April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Betty M. Jordan and Theodore R. Jordan v. Kelly D. Binns and U.S. Xpress Inc.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Binns and his employer U.S. Xpress on the Jordans’ lawsuit filed after Betty Jordan lost both of her legs while riding a motorcycle and being hit by the tractor-trailer driven by Binns. Rejects claims on appeal that improperly admitted hearsay evidence warrants a new trial. The court found that some hearsay evidence regarding Betty Jordan’s statement that she was at fault in a motorcycle accident was improperly admitted, but it was cumulative, and other evidence presented at trial strongly favored the defendants’ position.

United States of America v. Geoffrie Allen Lee Dill
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms Dill’s convictions for various drug and firearm offenses. Though the parties agree that the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 24(c)(3) prohibits alternates from deliberating with the regular jury, Dill has offered no evidence to suggest that the alternate juror in the room during deliberations participated in deliberations. There is no plain error.

United States of America v. Steven Dotson

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Even though the gun was not in working order when it was pointed at a woman during an alleged assault, it was designed to be a gun, never redesigned to be something else, and was not so dilapidated as to be beyond repair, so it fits the statutory definition of a firearm.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Lawrence Albores, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to give Albores’ proposed jury instruction regarding the presumption of innocence.

Welty Building Co., LTD. and, Ohio Farmers Insurance Company v. Indy Fedreau Company, LLC, et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Welty’s motions to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. Welty did not waive its right to insist upon arbitration of its disputes with the subcontractors. Remands for arbitration between Welty and the subcontractors, and for the trial court to assess whether the litigation between Ohio Farmers and the subcontractors should be stayed pending that arbitration.

Edward W. Clemons v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felonies possession of an animal for purposes of an animal fighting contest and promoting an animal fighting contest, and Class B misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia. The state presented sufficient evidence to support the convictions.

John V. Sebring v. Air Equipment and Engineering, Inc., Donaldson Co., Inc., William W. Meyer and Sons, Inc., Newton Conveyors, Inc. and Emerson Power Transmission Corp.
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of Newton Conveyors Inc.’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction a lawsuit brought by Sebring after he was injured at work while using a dust collector with a component manufactured by NCI. NCI’s role in the manufacturing process took place entirely within Texas, and the manufacturer of the final product unilaterally decided to ship the product to Indiana. Under these circumstances, NCI’s contact with Indiana is too attenuated to support jurisdiction.

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., as Trustee under the pooling and servicing agreement dated as of Nov. 1, 2002, Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2002-HE3 v. Patricia Harris and Shawn Harris
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses dismissal of Deutsche’s cause of action against the Harrises and denial of its motion for relief from the court’s quiet title decree. The trial court did not have authority to enter the quiet title decree to the extent that it ruled or order that the bank no longer held any interest in the property under the mortgage or that the note was cancelled, and the court erred or abused its discretion in denying the bank’s motion for relief from judgment on that basis. Remands with instructions to reinstate the cause of action and for further proceedings.

Thomas Porter v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension as a Class C felony, reverses suspension of Porter’s driving privileges for life and remands for further proceedings. The police officer had a reasonable basis for stopping Porter’s car when he couldn’t read the license plate from 50 feet away. The trial court exceeded statutory authority and improperly suspended his driving privileges for life.

Sterlen Shane Keller v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Keller waived his right to challenge the state’s amendment of the charging information. He has not shown that his right to a speedy trial was violated, that the admission of his statements to police was improper, or that the trial court abused its discretion in instructing the jury. Pursuant to the single larceny rule, the convictions for theft of the Social Security check and for theft of the two rings must be vacated. Although there is sufficient evidence to support the auto theft, theft, and burglary convictions, there is insufficient evidence to support the failure to report a dead body conviction as charged by the state. Keller’s modified sentence of 29 years does not violate the statutory limit on consecutive sentences, and he has not shown that his sentence is inappropriate.

Jordan Heimansohn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses conviction of driving while suspended as a Class A misdemeanor.

Brian G. Sachs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

R.D. v. A.W. & M.W. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms award of custody of minor A.W. to the step-grandparents.

State of Indiana v. Bobby Walden (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses grant of Walden’s motion to dismiss.

Rodney Juan Willis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony receiving stolen property.

Aaron Lee Anderson, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

James Rice v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony battery.

Justin Deon Coates v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses conviction and sentence for Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

In Re: The Paternity of B.L.E.; M.T.R. and M.J.R. v. A.E. (NFP)

Juvenile. Remands to the trial court to enter an order containing findings and conclusions in case in which the trial court denied the grandparents’ petition for visitation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.


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