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Opinions Dec. 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Brenda Alexander v. Donald Alexander
32A05-1108-DR-417
Domestic relations. Affirms in a divided opinion the trial court denial of a motion to correct error of the court’s omission of an award for incapacity maintenance for Brenda Alexander. She claimed that testimony of her disabilities and court findings supported an award, but the majority held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on ruling that such an award was not warranted.

A Plus Home Health Care Incorporated v. Kathleen Miecznikowski
93A02-1207-EX-558
Civil. Affirms Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision in favor of Miecznikowski on her claim for workers’ compensation. Agrees with the board’s conclusion that her fall was a neutral risk and therefore compensable.

Christine Banks v. Timothy R. Banks
45A03-1203-DR-96
Domestic Relation. Affirms trial court’s reduction in the amount of spousal maintenance Christine Banks receives from her ex-husband Timothy Banks. The COA rejected Christine Banks’ argument that Indiana law does not permit incapacity spousal maintenance to be modified, noting it was incorrect. The court stated when an obligor spouse suffers a deterioration in financial condition that is the result of factors beyond his or her control, he or she should not be forced to continuing paying maintenance based on a better financial condition.  

Melissa Patterson v. State of Indiana
34A02-1203-CR-235
Criminal. Reversed and remanded a trial court’s denial of Patterson’s motion to the charges of aiding, inducing or causing invasion of privacy as a class A misdemeanor. Patterson was charged because she twice visited her fiancé after she had obtained a no-contact order against him. The COA held the Indiana General Assembly did not criminalize the actions of a protected person to invite the subject of a protective order to violate the terms of the order.

Granite State Insurance Company v. Robert Lodholtz and Pulliam Enterprises, Inc.
71A04-1111-CT-635
Civil Tort. Affirms in a 2-1 opinion the trial court denial of Granite State to intervene in a suit in which its claims administrator failed to respond to Lodholtz’s claim in a workplace injury suit, resulting in a default judgment and subsequent $3.9 million damages award. The majority held that because Granite State reserved a right to deny coverage in its offer to represent Pulliam in an effort to vacate the judgment, it had an interest that was at best contingent and insufficient to support intervention. Judge John Baker dissented, holding that Granite State’s interest is not being protected.

Bert S. Watkins, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1203-CR-103
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence for obstruction of justice, a Class D felony, with habitual offender enhancement.

Nicholas Corbin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1202-CR-161
Criminal. Affirms convictions of burglary as a Class B felony, burglary as a Class C felony, attempted burglary as a Class C felony, theft as a Class D felony, auto theft as a Class D felony, resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony and a Class A misdemeanor, three counts of receiving stolen property as a Class D felony, and criminal mischief as a Class B misdemeanor.

Brian Taskey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
67A04-1204-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery resulting in bodily injury and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. COA found the state presented sufficient evidence to prove Taskey committed the charged offenses.

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: MS. and M.T.; and A.H. and T.S. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
07A04-1204-JT-217
Juvenile Termination of Parental Rights. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights of A.H. (mother) and T.S. (father) to their respective children.

William C. Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A04-1206-PC-307
Post Conviction Relief Petition. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. After the post-conviction court denied Davis’ petition the first time, the COA affirmed much of the decision but remanded for further proceedings related to several of Davis’ claims. The post-conviction court again denied Davis relief and the COA affirmed.

Henry Coyne Woodward v. Kimberlee Ann Norton (NFP)
71A03-1207-DR-311
Domestic Relation. Affirms money judgment in favor of Norton for Woodward’s failure to transfer funds from a retirement account to her. Reverses and remands for proceedings the order finding Woodward in contempt because the judgment that Woodward pay Norton a fixed amount is not enforceable by contempt.

Benito D. Lesiak v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1204-CR-183
Criminal. Affirms conviction of reckless homicide, a Class C felony.

Dewayne Walker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1204-CR-199
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary, finding trial court did properly deny Walker's request to instruct the jury on the less-included offense of residential entry.

Kenneth Meer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A04-1204-CR-193
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, as a Class A felony, and criminal deviate conduct, as a Class A felony.

Miles A. Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A01-1204-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms 20-year aggregate sentence for convictions of three counts of burglary, each as a Class B felony, two counts of attempted burglary, each as a Class B felony, and one count of burglary as a Class C felony.
 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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