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Opinions Aug. 12, 2011

August 12, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

LaDon Moore v. Review Board and Whitington Homes and Services
93A02-1005-EX-529
Civil. Affirms finding that Moore was discharged by her employer for just cause. Finds that publishing the names of the parties involved in cases with the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is essential to eliminate confusion and to increase efficiency.

Imari C. Butler v. State of Indiana
49A04-1012-CR-775
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony rape, Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, Class C felony criminal confinement, and Class D felony sexual battery. The trial court abused its discretion in admitting portions of Butler’s taped statement, but the error was harmless.  

Farah, LLC, et al. v. Architura Corporation
49A05-1012-PL-793
Civil plenary. Reverses award of $26,166 in principal and $15,000 in attorney fees on Architura’s mechanic’s lien claim. The principal mechanic’s lien amount must be reduced to $7,500. Remands for the trial court to recalculate the amount of prejudgment interest to which Architura is entitled. Affirms decision to not award damages on Farah’s claim that Architura failed to adequately inspect the premises and affirms the amount of damages awarded to Farah for Architura’s breaches of contract.

James C. Purcell v. Old National Bank
49A02-1005-CT-482
Civil tort. Affirms the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted judgment on the evidence in favor of Old National Bank regarding Purcell’s negligence and constructive fraud claims because ONB did not owe Purcell a duty as a subordinate creditor. Reverses grant of judgment on the evidence on Purcell’s other claims because answers to an earlier interrogatory present a genuine issue of material fact regarding those claims. Affirms denial of ONB’s motion for attorney fees and costs because Purcell’s claims were not groundless. Remands for further proceedings.

Michael R. Arbuckle v. Ann C. Arbuckle (NFP)
49A02-1009-DR-1083
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of emergency motion to review commissioner’s sale.

Johnny W. Jordan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1011-CR-1230
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine.

Michael Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1011-CR-1200
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and consecutive sentences for two counts of murder.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.D.C., et al.; A.M.C. v. IDCS (NFP)
02A03-1102-JT-120
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Amit Patel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1101-CR-104
Criminal. Affirms post-conviction court’s denial of Patel’s motion for dismissal.  

Jerome White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1101-CR-29
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony residential entry.

Christopher Kimbrell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1008-PC-1012
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Paternity of S.K., et al.; J.K. v. J.K. (NFP)
50A03-1101-JP-39
Juvenile. Affirms denial of mother’s motion to modify custody. Affirms denial of father’s motion for attorney fees.

Carl S. Hall v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1005-CR-318
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Donald H. Westfall v. Wal-Mart Stores East (NFP)
77A01-1012-CT-665
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Wal-Mart Stores East in Westfall’s complaint alleging negligence against Wal-Mart.

Kevin J. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1012-CR-1283
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony attempted robbery.

Dillon L. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
59A01-1012-CR-684
Criminal. Reverses sentence following guilty plea to three counts of Class B felony burglary, three counts of Class D felony theft, and one count of Class D felony criminal confinement. Reduces sentence by running all counts concurrent to each other for the aggregate sentence of 10 years, with six years executed and four years served on probation.

Steven Everett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1012-CR-1396
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are suspended and Class C misdemeanor operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of at least 0.08.

Robert Thomas v. State of Indiana (NFP)
69A04-1012-CR-803
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.B., et al.; W.B. v. IDCS (NFP)
88A01-1011-JT-571
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

J.M. v. J.W. (NFP)
36A01-1104-DR-164
Domestic relation. Reverses order modifying custody, parenting time, and child support. Remands with instructions.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of M.R.; M.R. v. IDCS, et al. (NFP)
49A04-1012-JT-810
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Kevin J. Byers v. Consolidated Union, Inc. (NFP)
52A04-1012-CT-767
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Consolidated Union in Byers’ suit alleging negligence and failure to contract for insurance coverage as requested.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of R.S., et al.; C.S. v. IDCS (NFP)
79A04-1101-JT-54
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Paternity of C.P.; B.S. v. J.P. (NFP)
90A02-1102-JP-92
Juvenile. Dismisses appeal of denial of B.S.’s petition to modify custody.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

 

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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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