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Opinions Feb. 14, 2012

February 14, 2012
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Schilli Transportation Services, Inc.
No. 11-2307
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich.
Civil. Reverses District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. – Schilli Transporation’s insurer – holding that the insurance policy was ambiguous as to the nature of the defendants’ liability for the deductible. Reverses and remands for further proceedings.

Tuesday’s opinions

The 7th Circuit Court of appeals had posted no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

In Re: The Marriage of K.Z. and M.H.
43A05-1107-DR-436
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order modifying dissolution decree to reflect that a child of the marriage between K.Z. and M.H. had been born after their divorce. Citing mother’s statement in the original dissolution decree, holds that no question of paternity exists, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the dissolution decree at the father’s request.

State of Indiana v. Renee Lynch
49A02-1105-CR-529
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of Lynch’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from a traffic stop, holding that because she did not turn left from a designated turn-only lane, a police officer had probable cause to pull her over for that infraction, and therefore evidence of her intoxication during that traffic stop is admissible.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.M., G.M., and R.M.; A.M. (Mother) and C.M. (Father) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office
15A01-1104-JT-204
Juvenile. On petition for rehearing, affirms original opinion that the Department of Child Services must make a prima facie showing about current conditions before the parents are obliged to come forward with evidence. Holds that the Legislature chose to require proof of present conditions before a child can be removed from a home and that the appellate court is not at liberty to alter statutory language.

Austin White v. Jessamyn Rhymer (NFP)
25A05-1109-SC-507
Small claims. Affirms trial court’s denial of White’s motion to set aside judgment when it dismissed his counterclaim. Holds that White has established the trial court committed a prima facie error when it awarded attorney fees to Rhymer and therefore reverses on that ground.

Michael T. Hackworth v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1106-CR-526
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and for being a habitual offender.

Robert M. Nolan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A01-1007-CR-433
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony child molesting, two counts of Class D felony child seduction and Class B felony rape.

R.T. Moore Co., Inc., FAHS Construction Group, Hearth at Tudor Gardens, LLC and Hearth at Juday Creek, LLC vs. Slant/Fin Corporation (NFP)
49A04-1109-CC-463
Civil collections. Reverses trial court’s grant of summary judgment of Slant/Fin Corporation, holding that Slant/Fin was a “materialman” in its agreement with DuraFlo, that the materialman-to-materialman relationship does not permit Slant/Fin to hold a mechanic’s lien or seek protections of the Personal Liability Notice Statute.

Gerald P. VanPatten v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1103-CR-113
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class A felony child molesting and one conviction for Class C felony child molesting.

Keith R. Erwin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1107-CR-584
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor trespass.

Roy A. Dinwiddie v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A02-1106-CR-569
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of B.T. and L.T. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
79A02-1107-JT-665
Juvenile. Affirms termination of mother’s parental rights.

Brandi Lynn Ramsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1105-CR-443
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to revoke probation and order to sever remainder of sentence.

William Lamar Bass v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1109-CR-835
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony attempted murder and Class C felony criminal recklessness.

William K. Aynes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1106-CR-517
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s order revoking probation.

Aileen (Scott) Kruse v. James D. Scott (NFP)
29A04-1106-DR-303
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order resolving father’s child support arrearage and other child support issues.

Richard William, as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Mary Lee Enlow, Deceased, and Vickie Lee Williams v. Kevin Heavner, as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Norman Heavner, Deceased (NFP)
87A05-1104-PL-235
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s judgment in favor of deceased’s personal representative.

Kathleen T. Mercier v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and HSS Systems, Inc. (NFP)
93A02-1107-EX-719
Civil. Affirms decision by the Department of Workforce Development Review Board that Mercier was discharged for just cause and therefore was not entitled to unemployment benefits.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of K.E. & H.E. (Minor Children) and D.E. (Father) & D.E. (Mother) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
72A01-1107-JT-331
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights for mother and father.

Delaney Wright v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1106-CR-562
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony residential entry.

Rick Carter v. Kristina Anderson (NFP)
41A01-1107-PO-301
Protective order. Reverses protective order in favor of Anderson, holding that the trial court did not listen to Carter’s witnesses or allow him to enter evidence in his defense and misinterpreted the grounds for issuing a protective order.

John Rogers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
10A05-1109-PC-525
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

James Arthur v. Michael F. Ward, as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Judith A. Arthur and Delbert N. Arthur, III, Individually (NFP)
22A01-1107-PL-326
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of appellees, holding James Arthur did not demonstrate a material issue of fact as to whether his mother signed estate documents. Remanded to the trial court for further litigation on the mother’s testamentary capacity, holding James Arthur had provided sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact on that claim.  

The Indiana Supreme  Court and Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions by 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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