Opinions Dec. 19, 2012

December 19, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Norman W. Bernstein, et al. v. Patricia A. Bankert, et al. and Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Co.
11-1501, 11-1523
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Reverses dismissal of counts I, II, III and VII. In Count I, the trustees have made a timely CERCLA claim, under 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B), to recover costs incurred pursuant
to the 2002 AOC. The trustees’ Count II “companion claim” for a declaratory judgment of CERCLA liability is therefore also reinstated. Finds that the Indiana ELA claim contained in Count III is timely, and that the declaratory judgment claim contained in Count VII is not
moot. The District Court committed no abuse of discretion in its handling of the summary judgment briefing process. Finally, affirms the District Court’s denial of Auto Owners’ motion for summary judgment on preclusion grounds. The trustees’ suit is reinstated and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Indiana Supreme Court
John Kimbrough, III v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Grants transfer and affirms aggregate sentence of 80 years for multiple convictions of Class A felony child molesting. Because the trial court correctly entered its sentencing statement in compliance with the dictates of Anglemyer and because the “appropriateness” of a sentence has no bearing on whether a sentence is erroneous, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing Kimbrough’s sentence. Further, Kimbrough did not seek review and revision of his sentence under Indiana Appellate Rule (7)(B).

Abby Allen and Walter Moore v. Clarian Health Partners, Inc.
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of Clarian’s motion to dismiss a putative class-action complaint alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaration that rates the hospital billed were unreasonable and unenforceable. Holds the patients’ agreement to pay “the account” in the context of Clarian’s contract to provide medical services is not indefinite and refers to Clarian’s chargemaster. Because patients’ complaint states no facts on which the trial court could have granted relief, the court properly granted Clarian’s motion to dismiss.

Hugh David Reed v. Edward Reid; Reid Machinery, Inc.; North Vernon Drop Forge, Inc.; Jennings Manufacturing Co., Inc.; Reid Metals, Inc.; Glen White; Douglas Dibble; et al.

Civil plenary. Affirms in part and reverses in part regarding summary judgment motions on Hugh David Reed’s complaint seeking damages against multiple parties on multiple grounds, including a claim for an environmental legal action after a steel fabrication company deposited solid waste onto his property. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Stephen W. Robertson, Ins. Comm. of the State of Indiana, on behalf of the Indiana Dept. of Ins. v. Ticor Title Ins. Co. of Florida, n/k/a Chicago Title Ins. Co.
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court’s reversal of the administrative order directing Ticor to refund excessive premiums, pay unpaid premium taxes, and establish an internal control process to ensure the appropriate premium is charged to Ticor customers. The Indiana Department of Insurance’s interpretation of the rate statute was reasonable and the administrative hearing officer’s findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

LBM Realty, LLC, d/b/a Summer Place Apartments v. Hillary Mannia
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of Mannia’s motion to dismiss LBM’s claims of breach of contract and negligence regarding a fire. Because Indiana law does not currently preclude a landlord’s insurer from bringing a subrogation claim against a tenant and because the allegations in LBM’s complaint establish a set of circumstances under which it would be entitled to relief, LBM’s complaint states claims upon which relief could be granted. Remands for further proceedings.

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

Toby Hicks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder and Class C felony robbery.

Sandra R. Peters v. Wal-Mart (NFP)
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Toni L. Woods v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms order Woods serve half of her previously suspended sentence following a probation violation.


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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.