Opinions Feb. 23, 2011

February 23, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Debra K. Sands v. Helen HCI, LLC
Civil collections. Reverses denial of Sands’ motion to enforce a settlement agreement between herself, Helen HCI LLC and two other companies, providing for dismissal with prejudice of Helen HCI’s complaint against Sands in Indiana and dismissal with prejudice of Sands’ complaint against Helen HCI and the other companies in a Wisconsin suit. The parties entered into a binding contract which required the subsequent execution of a document memorializing their agreement and there is no uncertainty as to any substantial term of the settlement contract.

Sutton Funding, LLC v. Janusz Jaworski, First Midwest, et al./First Midwest Bank v. Sutton Funding
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses summary judgment for First Midwest Bank and Janusz Jaworski in its complaint to foreclose on the 2004 mortgage and its assertion that it was in first lien position on the property. Sutton Funding also filed a complaint to foreclose against Jaworski and First Midwest on the 2007 mortgage, which it had financed on the same property, and note. Indiana Code Section 32-29-6-13 requires Sutton Funding be provided with a release of the mortgage at issue and that summary judgment be granted in its favor.  

Steven E. Coates v. Heat Wagons, Inc., et al.
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of a preliminary injunction against Coates and in favor of Heat Wagons and Manufacturers Products (MPI). The trial court did not err in determining that MPI faced a risk of irreparable harm and lacked adequate remedy at law as a result of any breach by Coates of the covenant not to compete. It also did not err in determining that MPI has a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of its case. Reverses part of order enjoining any use by Coates of the Web address and the red “H&P” logo because restrictions are overly broad. Judge James Kirsch dissents.

Ronald A. Steenbeke v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and Class B misdemeanor failure to stop after damage to property other than a vehicle.

Roy Kresel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony aggravated battery.

Dorris Merriweather, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to one count of Class A felony attempted murder and two counts of Class A felony child molesting.

Michael S. Polites v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms partial denial of Polites’ motion to suppress.

State of Indiana v. Jason Patton (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses grant of Patton’s motion for discharge and remands for further proceedings.

Oscar Delatorre v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony robbery.

Robert Beeler v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony intimidation.

Daniel W. Myers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony operating a motor vehicle as a habitual traffic violator and Class D felony invasion of privacy.

M.C. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms determination that M.C. committed what would be Class B felony robbery if committed by an adult.

Billy James Huff, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Revises Huff’s sentence following guilty plea to Class D felonies possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. Remands for his two-year sentences to be served consecutively.

William Smith v. Arbor Woods Apartments (NFP)
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Arbor Woods Apartments in Smith’s suit after he fell on ice in front of his apartment. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Brown dissents.

James C. Gaskill v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony aggravated battery.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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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.