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Opinions Aug. 25, 2011

August 25, 2011
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Ernest R. Snow
10-2031
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence of gun found on Snow after he was pulled over on suspicion of a burglary attempt and ordered out of his car for a protective pat down. Concludes that police do not require additional information suggesting that a suspect might be armed before they may conduct a protective frisk of someone they reasonably suspect of being a burglar.

Today’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael H. Haury v. Bruce Lemmon, et al.
11-2148
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L Miller Jr.
Civil. Reverses denial by District Court to proceed as a pauper on the ground that Haury had accumulated three strikes for the dismissal of three prior lawsuits. Only two of the cases named by the District Court warrant strikes under 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g). Grants Haury’s motion and remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Margarita Aguirre v. State of Indiana
49A05-1101-CR-36
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The state did not present any evidence that Aguirre used force or “made threatening or violent actions” to contribute to the struggle with the police officer. Judge Baker dissents.

S.S. LLC  v. Review Board and D.H.
93A02-1101-EX-56
Agency appeal. Affirms decision in favor of D.H. on her claim for unemployment benefits. S.S. merely alleged that D.H. voluntarily resigned. The review board found otherwise and the COA declines to reweigh the evidence. Judge Crone concurs in separate opinion.

Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Christopher Jones, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Sarah Jones, deceased

53A01-1012-PL-669
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment and subsequent entry of declaratory judgment against Argonaut Insurance and in favor of Jones after Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Sarah Jones was killed while on duty. The trial court correctly concluded as a matter of law that there was no question of material fact and that Jones was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on whether Deputy Jones was using her patrol car and that her injuries and death resulted from her use of the police car.  

John Fiederlein, M.D. v. Alex Boutselis, M.D. and Steve Jones, M.D.
79A04-1010-PL-632
Civil plenary. Affirms in part and reverses in part. Affirms summary judgment for the defendants as to Fiederlein’s claims of breach of contract, fraudulent interference with employment relationship, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. The trial court properly concluded that there was no evidence to support Fiederlein’s contention that his negotiations would have been conducted differently if a letter hadn’t been sent. The trial court erred when it denied Fiederlein’s motion for summary judgment as to the defendants’ counterclaim for the repayment of $814,935 distribution due to unjust enrichment. The trial court erred when it denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to Fiederlein’s claim of unjust enrichment regarding the capital account refunds.

Michael D. Slaton v. State of Indiana (NFP)

45A05-1012-CR-766
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for two counts of Class B felony robbery and two counts of Class B felony criminal confinement.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of K.W., et al.; A.W. v. IDCS (NFP)

54A01-1102-JT-77
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Jatun Combs v. State of Indiana (NFP)

46A03-1006-CR-403
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony dealing in cocaine and Class B felony possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Governmental Interinsurance Exchange (NFP)
66A04-1101-PL-35
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Governmental Interinsurance Exchange on the issue of notice.

Ibad U. Ansari v. Home Bank S.B. (NFP)
55A01-1012-CC-641
Civil collections. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Home Bank on a suit alleging default on promissory notes.

Jeremy K. Hiday v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A04-1102-CR-80
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting.

Linda S. Wetzel v. John E. Wetzel (NFP)
29A02-1008-DR-968
Domestic relation. Affirms order modifying the weekly child support obligation of John Wetzel to $0.
 
Keith Nemer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1012-CR-800
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.

O&F Properties, Inc. v. Timothy A. Mills, et al. (NFP)

82A01-1101-PL-11
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment to defendant Orson Oliver in O & F’s breach of contract suit.

Jerome Wilkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)

82A04-1101-CR-47
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony resisting law enforcement, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and Class B misdemeanor reckless driving.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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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