Opinions Aug. 31, 2011

August 31, 2011
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Indiana Supreme Court
Quincy Branham & Shannon Branham v. Rodney Varble & Carol Varble
Small claim. Reverses orders to pay $50 per month and the order Quincy Branham submit five job applications a week.  Affirms order to return for a status check. A court does not err when it orders a party to return for status checks some limited number of times, even if an information of contempt has not been filed.

Quincy Branham & Shannon Branham v. Rodney Varble & Norman Chastain
Small claim. Reverses order that Quincy and Shannon Branham pay on the judgment despite their lack of non-exempt income. The record doesn’t show that the Branhams have any property or income that is not covered by an exemption. Reverses order that Quincy file a certain number of job applications per week. Court orders to seek employment or to seek better employment are not a proper part of a proceeding supplemental.

Wednesday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no opinions from Indiana courts at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Area Foundation of the United Methodist Church, Inc., d/b/a United Methodist Church, Bishop Michael Coyner, Ann Glass, and Robert Ostermeier v. Lynn Snyder
Civil tort. Reverses denial of the church’s motion for summary judgment on Rev. Snyder’s defamation claim. The church has made a prima facie showing that the trial court erred on this matter because the statements at issue involve Snyder’s fitness for ministry. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the church on Snyder’s breach of contract claim. The trial court couldn’t determine whether he had an enforceable contract without becoming excessively entangled in church doctrine in violation of the First Amendment. Remands for further proceedings.

Max H. Bonecutter v. Discover Bank
Small claim. Affirms small claims court judgment in favor of Discover Bank of $4,569.17 plus court costs. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bonecutter’s motion to dismiss under Trial Rule 41(E) for failure to prosecute. The evidence was sufficient to find that an agreement existed between Bonecutter and Discover and that Bonecutter was required to make payments, which he did not do.  

State of Indiana v. Stephen Alter
Criminal. Affirms grant of motion to suppress filed by Alter. The officers lacked reasonable suspicion to further detain Alter for investigatory purposes under the Fourth Amendment at the time one of the officer’s directed Alter to open a small bag and give him anything illegal or give him the marijuana.

Naomi Paddock v. Bradley K. Maikranz, et al. (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Maikranz and Fifth Third on Paddock’s suit alleging violations of the Indiana Uniform Securities Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

Tony Benson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reveres order granting Benson permission to file a belated notice of appeal and dismisses Benson’s appeal of his sentence.

Richard Swoboda v. Richard Stalbrink, Jr. (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Stalbrink Jr. in Swoboda’s claim for legal malpractice.

Aimee Cotton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony neglect of a dependent.

Eqwan Garrett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Class D felony pointing a firearm.

Jerry Perry v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class B felony burglary, two counts of Class C felony robbery, Class C felony conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of Class D felony criminal confinement.

Dohjae Kirkland v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.

Nelson Gary, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony arson and three counts of Class C felony criminal confinement.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of I.N. and J.T-R.; D.R.N., Jr. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Steve A. Morrison v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Infraction. Affirms finding that Morrison committed a Class C infraction of failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.

Melinda Engelking v. John T. Cosby (NFP)
Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of Cosby on his claim for breach of a land use agreement.

Richard L. Snider and Sherrie W. Snider v. European Warmblood Imports, Inc., Michael Pedersen and April Pedersen (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of the Sniders’ motion to correct error based on newly discovered evidence.

Antonio D. Murillo v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony domestic battery.

Jacob J. Cummings v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony possession of methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of a syringe, and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Donald Klinzman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Jermail D. Warren v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class B felony dealing cocaine but reverses application of habitual offender sentencing enhancements to all three counts. Remands for removal of the enhancement from two sentences.  

Danny Grigsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Reo Jon'ta Thompson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for two counts of murder in the perpetration of robbery.

Indiana Tax Court
Brenda Truedell-Bell v. Marion County Treasurer
Tax. Dismisses appeal. Truedell-Bell’s lack of a final determination from the Indiana Board of Tax Review deprives the Tax Court of subject matter jurisdiction.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues