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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. 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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