Opinions Feb. 24, 2011

February 24, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
French C. Mason v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felonies resisting law enforcement and unlawful use of body armor. The trial court had sufficient evidence to show Mason resisted law enforcement and his crime rose to the Class D felony level and to conclude Mason intended to wear body armor in the aid of the felony of resisting law enforcement through the use of a vehicle.

Gayle Fischer v. Michael and Noel Heymann/ Michael and Noel Heymann v. Caryn J. Craig, et al.  
Civil plenary. Reverses judgment in favor of the Heymanns that Fischer reimburses the Heymanns’ earnest money deposit to purchase Fischer’s condominium and pay their litigation costs and attorney fees. The trial court clearly erred in concluding the property’s electrical concerns constituted “major defects” as defined in the purchase agreement. The substantive findings in the inspection report do not support an objectively reasonable belief that the defect was major. Remands for determination of damages owed to Fischer and reasonable attorneys fees to be awarded to her. Judge Elaine Brown dissents.

Stephanie L. Cotton v. Charles C. Cotton
Domestic relation. Reverses denial of Stephanie’s motion to set aside the decree of dissolution that the court had entered dissolving the Cottons’ marriage. The summons served on Stephanie was insufficient as a matter of law for the court to exercise personal jurisdiction over her, therefore, the decree is void. Remands for further proceedings.

In the Matter of the Adoption of M.B.; Je.B. v. Ja.B.
Adoption. Affirms order dismissing stepfather Je.B.’s petition to adopt M.B. without the consent of her natural father, Ja.B. The stepfather didn’t meet his burden of showing that the natural father’s consent is not required for the adoption and the trial court didn’t err when it denied and dismissed his petition to adopt M.B. without the father’s consent.

Bruce Fox v. Dennis Rice, et al.
Civil plenary. Grants rehearing to clarify that Fox’s false imprisonment ended when he was served with an arrest warrant and that Willis lacked final policymaking authority. Affirms original opinion in all respects.

Frank A. Workman, M.D., et al. v. Ann O'Bryan
Civil plenary. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the denial of Dr. Workman’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of statute of limitations in a medical malpractice suit brought by O’Bryan. O’Bryan met her burden to show, at least, an issue of material fact as to whether she filed her proposed complaint within a reasonable time.

Phillip Collier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

R.M. v. Review Board (NFP)
Civil. Affirms decision that R.M. was discharged for just cause and not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of W.C., et al.; D.C. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Timothy Huffman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Bernard Pettis v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons (NFP)
Civil. Affirms decision of the Full Worker’s Compensation Board that affirmed the decision of a hearing member awarding Pettis more than $19,000 in temporary total disability benefits.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of B.G.; H.G. v. IDCS (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Curtis Westbrook v. Nye's Wrecker Service (NFP)
Small claims. Affirms judgment denying Westbrook’s claim against Ney’s Wrecker Service arising from the impounding of Westbrook’s vehicle.

Jesus D. Russell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to two counts of Class B felony burglary and one count of Class C felony criminal recklessness.

Richard Oldfield, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Oldfield serve the suspended portion of his sentence.

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.