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Opinions Dec. 22, 2010

December 22, 2010
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline:
Indiana Tax Court
Virginia Garwood, et al. v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue
82T10-0906-TA-29
Tax. Denies the Department of Revenue’s motion to dismiss. The Garwoods’ action is an original tax appeal, so the Tax Court denies all of the department’s 12(B) claims for a motion to dismiss.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Dept. of Insurance, et al. v. Robin Everhart
84A01-0912-CV-614
Civil. Judge Robb dissents to the order denying petition for rehearing. Believes Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 323 should not be applied, as was done in the original opinion.

Today’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Trinity Homes LLC and Beazer Homes Investments LLC v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Company and Cincinnati Insurance Company
09-3613
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Civil. Reverses District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurers on the homebuilders’ suit alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaration that all of the insurers had a duty to provide coverage. The precedential landscape has changed regarding the claim against Ohio Casualty. Remands for reconsideration in light of Sheehan. The District Court’s interpretation of the contract between Cincinnati Insurance and Beazer was erroneous. Declines to reach the question of whether any exclusions or limitations in Cincinnati’s policy apply to Beazer’s claim, leaving that for further proceedings on remand.


Indiana Supreme Court
Andres Sanchez v. State of Indiana
20S04-1012-CR-692
Criminal. Revises Sanchez’s consecutive enhanced sentences of 80 years for three counts of Class A felony child molesting to be served concurrently. Generally, multiple victims justify the imposition of enhanced and consecutive sentences. But although the aggravating circumstances are sufficient to warrant imposing enhanced sentences, the record supports imposing consecutive sentences. Revises sentence to 30 years on two of the counts and to the enhanced term of 40 years on the remaining count and orders they be served concurrently. Justice Rucker dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Oscar I. Belmares-Bautista v. State of Indiana
57A04-1003-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of a counterfeit government-issued identification, a Class A misdemeanor; and operating a vehicle without ever having received a valid license, a Class C misdemeanor. The only issue is whether Belmares-Bautista knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to counsel. The counterfeit identification was what appeared to be a driver’s license from the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico, which an officer identified as a forgery.

Robert Neises Construction Corp. v. Grand Innovations Inc., et al.
45A03-1004-PL-238
Civil. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee-defendant Kentland Bank in this foreclosure action. Neises presented the following issues: whether the trial court erred when it concluded that Kentland’s expenditures to protect the subject real estate from damage pending the foreclosure should take priority over Neises’ and others’ mechanic’s liens; and whether the trial court erred when it did not assign Neises’ mechanic’s lien a higher priority than Kentland’s mortgage lien in the distribution of the proceeds from the sheriff’s sale.

Tracey L. Beswick and Ruthie Beswick v. Edward E. Bell, M.D., and Floyd Memorial Hospital & Health Services
22A01-1005-CT-260
Civil. Affirms trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in the medical malpractice action that Tracey L. Beswick and his wife Ruthie Beswick brought against Edward E. Bell, M.D. and Floyd Memorial. Beswicks raised the issue of whether the trial court erred by striking the affidavit of Michael Roback, M.D., submitted by the Beswicks in opposition to Floyd Memorial’s motion for summary judgment.

Glendal Rhoton v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-446
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder and burglary as a Class C felony, and the sentences imposed following a jury trial. Rhoton presented three issues for review: whether trial court abused its discretion when it instructed the jury on burglary; whether the evidence was sufficient to support Rhoton’s conviction of murder; whether Rhoton’s sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Mark R. Eiler v. State of Indiana
73A04-1005-CR-369
Criminal. Reverses and remands Eiler’s sentence for dealing cocaine as a Class A felony. Eiler raised the issues of whether the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing Eiler, and whether Eiler’s sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.

Francisco Contreras v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-426
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class A felony child molesting and two counts of Class C felony child molesting.

Ryan T. Renfroe v. State of Indiana (NFP)
40A01-1002-CR-96
Criminal. Affirms Renfroe’s aggregate executed sentence of 124 years after he pled guilty to two counts of murder and one count of Class C felony escape.

Clarence E. Lampkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A05-1005-CR-373
Criminal. Reverses and remands conviction of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon as a Class B felony.

Allen Marshall v. Kris Marshall (NFP)
85A03-1005-DR-289
Civil. Reverses and remands trial court’s order that emancipated father’s daughter.

Thomas M. Blair v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1005-CR-295
Criminal. Affirms conviction, following a jury trial, of burglary as a Class B felony.

James A. Nelson v. Michael Collins (NFP)
26A01-1007-PL-329
Civil. Remands with instructions for the trial court to dismiss Nelson’s complaint without prejudice.

In the Matter of T.O., et al.; J.O. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
85A04-1006-JC-407
Juvenile. Affirms juvenile court’s order determining that T.O., S.O., B.O., R.O., Z.O., E.O., and G.O. were children in need of services.

Larrell Alexander v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A04-1003-CR-250
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for dealing in cocaine, a Class B felony, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor.

Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of G.B., et al.; G.B. & B.B. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
42A05-1005-JT-318
Juvenile. Reverses and remands with instructions trial court’s order terminating mother’s parental rights over her minor children G.B., K.B., and E.B.

Jerry Bunton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1006-CR-600
Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, a Class D felony, following a jury trial.

Eric Guess v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1004-PC-281
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Jeffrey D. Boggs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
40A01-1004-CR-163
Criminal. Affirms conviction of escape as a Class C felony, and eight-year executed sentence.

Mark Richmond v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-0607-CR-293
Criminal. Affirms 93-year aggregate sentence imposed following convictions of rape, a Class B felony; criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony; burglary, a Class B felony; and confinement, a Class D felony, as well as the finding that he is a habitual offender.

D.R. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development (NFP)
93A02-1005-EX-522
Civil. Affirms a decision by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that denied D.R.’s unemployment benefits.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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