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Opinions Feb. 14, 2011

February 14, 2011
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday.
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Heather McClure O'Farrell
29S00-0902-DI-76
Discipline. Publicly reprimands O’Farrell for engaging in misconduct by making agreements for and charging unreasonable fees in violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a). She violated the rule by including an improper nonrefundability provision in her flat fee agreements and by charging and collecting flat fees that were nonrefundable regardless of the circumstances. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Rucker dissent as to the sanction, finding a period of suspension without automatic reinstatement necessary for the protection of clients.

Today’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Cynthia Kartman, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al.
09-1725
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses District Court ruling that a class claim for injunctive relief could proceed under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(2) and certification of a class to determine whether State Farm should be required to re-inspect policyholders’ roofs pursuant to a uniform and objective standard. There is no contract or tort-based duty requiring the insurer to use a particular standard for assessing hail damage. Also, the requested injunction is neither appropriate nor final.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ryan J. Goens v. State of Indiana
41A01-1006-CR-277
Criminal. Reverses denial of Goens’ motion to suppress. The traffic stop that resulted in his arrest for driving while intoxicated wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.

DBL Axel, LLC v. LaSalle Bank National Association, et al.
15A01-1003-PL-205
Civil plenary. Grants rehearing on the issue of whether the trial court’s order directing turnover of funds in favor of LaSalle Bank violated DBL’s due process rights to the extent that it had not been determined whether DBL was still in possession of the funds at the time the trial court issued the order. Holds that, where in question, the court must first make a factual determination as to the whereabouts of the property. Vacates original opinion, reverses, and remands.

Jeremy James Lahr v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1006-CR-337
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class A felony child molesting, two counts of Class C felony child molesting, one count of Class D felony fondling in the presence of a minor, and one count of Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

Charles Summers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1006-CR-707
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony strangulation and reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery. Remands for trial court to vacate battery conviction.

Jeruan L. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1006-CR-368
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony dealing in cocaine.

Michael P. Singh v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1007-CR-532
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony intimidation.

Sandra McDaniel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
24A01-1005-CR-264
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.

Jerry Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1006-CR-708
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class A felony criminal deviate conduct.

Auditor of Clark Ct., et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (NFP)
10A05-1007-PL-418
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of summary judgment for JP Morgan Chase on the county’s complaint seeking recovery of penalties that the IRS had assessed against it for Chase’s refusal to honor the electronic funds transfer payment requests. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Baker concurs in result.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

The Indiana Supreme Court granted four transfers and denied 34 for the week ending Feb. 11, 2011.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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