Opinions Aug. 10, 2011

August 10, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gregory K. Weatherbee v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms denial of application for Social Security disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income payments after plaintiff suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle crash. The decision to deny his application was supported by substantial evidence.

Indiana Supreme Court
Howard Regional Health System, et al. v. Jacob Gordon, b/n/f Lisa Gordon
Civil. Reverses partial summary judgment for the Gordons, who sought a finding of liability against the hospital for the count alleging third-party spoliation, separate from their Medical Malpractice claim. The Supreme Court declines to recognize that count as representing a separate cause of action, so the hospital is entitled to summary judgment on that count. Justice Dickson concurs in result.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Raymond Flores v. Juan P. Rocha Gutierrez
Civil tort. Affirms denial of motion to correct error; the admission of certain evidence, including a photograph of property damage and Flores’ claim for workers’ compensation benefits relating to a subsequent fall; and the exclusion of certain medical records of Flores. The jury’s determination that Flores was entitled to zero damages arising out of his accident with Gutierrez is not outside the bounds of evidence.

Thomas Kornelik v. Mittal Steel USA, Inc., et al.
Civil tort. Reverses the trial court’s decision to not reduce Kornelik’s lien arising under the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act by attorney fees and pro rata costs, but affirms the refusal to reduce the lien in the same proportion that Kornelik’s full recovery was reduced. Based on the circumstances of the case, Lafarge, Kornelik’s employer, was not fully protected, so the trial court did not err in failing to reduce the lien in the same proportion that his full recovery was reduced. Remands with instructions for the trial court to reduce the lien by attorney fees and a pro rata share of the costs.

Thomas R. Crowel v. Marshall County Drainage Board
Miscellaneous. Reverses the denial of Crowel’s petition for judicial review. The trial court erred in concluding that the drainage board’s decision was not arbitrary, capricious, unlawful, or unsupported by substantial evidence. The additional drainage of surface water naturally flowing off of Crowel’s land and burdening the lower-lying parcels does not constitute a benefit to Crowel’s land supporting the drainage board’s assessment. Remands with instructions. Judge Vaidik dissents.

Jose Lozano v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress pretrial identification evidence drawn from an allegedly impermissibly suggestive photo array and the trial court ruling that a hearsay statement concerning an unnamed third party’s purported confession to the crimes with which Lozano has been charged was inadmissible.

Freddie McKnight v. Curtis T. Hill, Jr., et al. (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms that Hill and Wargo are entitled to absolute immunity for McKnight’s negligence claim and McKnight’s federal constitutional claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

R.J.C. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms dispositional order placing R.J.C. with the Indiana Department of Correction.

Christopher Richmond v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony theft.

Yasmin Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Javier Soto v. Monaco Coach Corp. (NFP)
Agency appeal. Reverses in part the denial of Soto’s application for adjustment of claim. Remands to the Full Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana to vacate paragraph 27 of the hearing member’s decision, as adopted by the board, and any other portions of the decision related to the issue of Soto’s permanent and total disability. Permits the parties to present evidence and argument on this issue at a further hearing.

Tradell Marzette v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for Class B felony conspiracy to commit robbery and four counts of Class B felony criminal confinement. Remands with instructions to vacate his conviction and sentence for Class B felony attempted robbery.

D.R., Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; J.R. v. I.D.C.S. & Child Advocates (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms determination that D.R. is a child in need of services.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.