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Opinions Aug. 7, 2012

August 7, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Warrick County, Indiana, A Political Subdivision, by and through its County Commissioners, Nova Conner, Don Williams, and Phillip Baxter, and Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. William Hill and Stacy Hill
87A01-1201-PL-8
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of summary judgment for Warrick County in an action brought against it and Cincinnati Insurance Co. by William and Stacy Hill. Agrees with trial court conclusion that the Hills filed their notice under the Indiana Tort Claims Act within 180 days and that the Hills did not discover the source of the damage to their home until 2007, so the claims are within the six-year statute of limitations on actions for injury to property other than personal property.

Matthew Manuel v. State of Indiana
49A02-1112-CR-1135
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony domestic battery following a bench trial. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it did not allow Manuel to cross-examine his live-in girlfriend about a 2005 domestic battery charge or when it allowed the state to ask D.S. whether she had testified truthfully. The state produced sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Dean V. Kruse Foundation, Inc., Dean Kruse and Kruse International v. Jerry W. Gates
59A05-1201-CT-37
Civil tort. Reverses judgment that the forfeiture provision in the purchase agreement between Kruse and Gates constituted a liquid damages clause. Finds the provision in this agreement indicates an intent to penalize the purchaser for a breach rather and an intent to compensate the seller in the event of a breach, which support interpreting it as a penalty rather than one providing for liquidated damages. Remands with instructions for the trial court to calculate the measure of damages as a result of Gates’ breach of contract.

James E. Corry and Gayle Corry v. Steve Jahn, Woodland Homes of Ft. Wayne, LLC, Scott R. Malcolm, Oakmont Development Co. LLC, and Mike Thomas Associates/F.C. Tucker, Inc.
02A03-1107-PL-323
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment to Oakmont and Mike Thomas Associates/F.C. Tucker on the Corrys’ suit for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of warranty, negligence, and fraud; affirms denial of the Corrys’ motion to correct error and the entry of judgment upon the partial summary judgment order. Oakmont and MTA were not parties to the contract litigation at issue in this litigation and the trial court property declined to impose an implied warrant of habitability on Oakmont and MTA where the builder was the entity best positioned to prevent the harm.

Naveed Gulzar v. State of Indiana
20A03-1202-PC-88
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. Gulzar claimed that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him that automatic deportation was a consequence of his pleading guilty to theft. He failed to demonstrate prejudice as a result of his attorney’s lack of advisement.

Darrell Lawrence v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1110-CR-938
Criminal. Dismisses state’s cross-appeal of dismissal of Class B felony possession of cocaine, reverses one conviction of resisting law enforcement by force and remands to the trial court.

Raymon Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery on a law enforcement officer resulting in bodily injury in one case and the revocation of probation in another case because of the commission of this crime.

In re the Marriage of: Dennis Coffman v. Jennifer Coffman (NFP)
31A01-1110-DR-488
Domestic relation. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the debts resulting from the loans from Dennis Coffman’s parents from the marital estate, and when the court failed to take into account his post-separation payments of an insurance settlement to Jennifer Coffman. Affirms distribution of the parties’ personal property. Remands with instructions.

Kevin K. Cotton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
64A05-1111-CR-641
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Dustin L. Bess v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A04-1112-CR-701
Criminal. Affirms 45-year sentence for Class A felony burglary.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of X.B. and L.B. (Minor Children) and J.B. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
71A03-1201-JT-26
Juvenile termination. Affirms termination of parental rights.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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