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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. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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