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Opinions Feb. 9, 2011

February 9, 2011
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday.
Indiana Supreme Court
Nicholas Green v. Ford Motor Company
94S00-1007-CQ-348
Certified question. Concludes in a crashworthiness case alleging enhanced injuries under the Indiana Product Liability Act, it is the function of the fact-finder to consider and evaluate the conduct of all relevant actors who are alleged to have caused or contributed to cause the harm for which the plaintiff seeks damages. The fact-finder shall apportion fault to the injured person only if the fact-finder concludes that the fault of the injured person is a proximate cause of the injuries for which damages are sought.

Indiana Tax Court
Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, Inheritance Tax Division v. In the Matter of the Estate of Deloras J. Biddle
49T10-1007-TA-35
Tax. Reverses probate court decision that the estate was not required to file an inheritance tax return because the checks issued by MetLife to Biddle’s brother were life insurance proceeds and not annuity contract payments. The probate court provided no reasoning, nor cited any other evidence which would support its conclusion that the MetLife payments to Biddle’s brother were life insurance proceeds. Remands to order the estate to provide a copy of the MetLife contracts so that it may be determined whether the estate was indeed required to file an Indiana inheritance tax return and remit inheritance tax on the transfers to Biddle’s brother.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Dept. of State Revenue v. Belterra Resort Indiana, LLC
49S10-1010-TA-519
Tax. Grants rehearing to address the question of whether Belterra is subject to a tax penalty. Remands to the Indiana Tax Court to determine the timeliness of Belterra’s argument and, if timely, whether Belterra is subject to the penalty and, if so, whether the penalty should be waived. Affirms original opinion in all other respects. Justice Dickson concurs in result, believing the rehearing should also be granted to revisit the previous decision on the “step transaction” issue.

Noe Romo v. State of Indiana
49S04-1009-CR-499
Criminal. Affirms the trial court did not err in admitting the translation transcripts of conversations recorded in Spanish between Romo and a police informant. The written English translations of foreign language recordings may be admitted as substantive evidence, and the recordings themselves generally should be admitted and played as well, but under the circumstances in the instant case, the failure to play the Spanish recordings is not a reversible error. Summarily affirms the Indiana Court of Appeals on all other issues.

Indiana Court of Appeals had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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