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Opinions Jan. 21, 2011

January 21, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Maria Tara Sutherland v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
10-2214
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Wal-Mart on Sutherland’s hostile work environment and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims. She did not present evidence that would allow a jury to conclude Wal-Mart is liable for the assault committed against her by Aguas.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert Hollis, et al. v. Defender Security Company
49A02-1004-PL-464
Civil plenary. Affirms dismissal of Hollis’ wage claims brought under the Wage Payment Statute. An employee’s status at the time he or she files the claim is the relevant inquiry in determining whether to proceed under the Wage Payment Statute or the Wage Claims Statute. Robert was involuntarily separated from Defender Security Co. when he filed his claims, so they fell under the Wage Claims statute. Because he didn’t allege any Wage Claims Statute violations and submit his claim to the Department of Labor, the trial court properly dismissed his claims.

Darren Matlock v. State of Indiana
49A02-1006-CR-609
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Where the possibility exists that a defendant accused of OWI may at some point in the future regain competency and be released back into society, and when that release also may include the defendant driving, the state may pursue an OWI conviction even if the defendant’s incompetency caused he or she to be detained for a period in excess of the maximum possible sentence for OWI.

Benjamin H. Steinberg v. State of Indiana
53A01-1001-CR-16
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and 65-year sentence for murder. There was no reversible error in any of the issues Steinberg raised on appeal and his sentence is appropriate.

John P. Osburn v. State of Indiana
38A04-1004-CR-281
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felonies theft and insurance fraud and vacates the Class D felony obstruction of justice conviction and sentence on double jeopardy grounds. There is enough evidence to support his convictions, but a review of the record indicates that the jury likely used the same facts to convict Osburn of both theft and obstruction of justice.

Zachary K. Gootee v. State of Indiana
67A05-1006-CR-74
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed upon re-sentencing for convictions of four counts of Class C felony forgery, three counts of Class D felony fraud, one count of Class D felony theft, and the determination that Gootee is a habitual offender. The trial court did not abuse its discretion upon re-sentencing by imposing the same aggregate sentence of 24 years and by imposing consecutive sentences.

Brian Bronaugh v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-384
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony attempted robbery, Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Class D residential entry, and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Bronaugh’s trial counsel’s motion to withdraw and Bronaugh was not denied due process when he was forced to attend the first day of trial wearing his jail clothes.

Jodi McGookin, et al. v. Guidant Corporation, et al.
71A04-1001-CT-101
Civil tort. Affirms denial of motion to correct error, following the trial court ruling in favor of Guidant on the McGookins’ state law complaint following the death of Jodi McGookin’s newborn daughter. The trial court properly found the claims pre-empted by federal law. The label on the pacemaker had been pre-approved by the FDA and Guidant wasn’t required to include additional warnings.

Christopher K. Washington v. State of Indiana
45A03-1004-CR-226
Criminal. Affirms 35-year sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony battery. Washington’s mental illness bears little weight on the analysis of his character and he failed to carry his burden of proving his sentence has met the inappropriateness standard of review.

Brandy Lozier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1007-CR-347
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and imposition of four years of Lozier’s previously suspended sentence.

S.R. v. T.R. (NFP)
79A02-1005-DR-617
Domestic relation. Affirms decision to allow father T.R. to have unsupervised parenting time with the parties’ minor children. Holds that trial court’s admonishment concerning any future contempt findings does not violate mother S.R.’s due process rights.

David D. Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1004-CR-242
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony burglary and determination that Williams is a habitual offender.

Mark W. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A05-1005-CR-343
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting but reverses sentence imposed on that count. Revises it to 40 years, to be served concurrently with the eight-year sentence previously imposed on Class C felony touching or fondling a 10-year-old child with the intent to arouse or satisfy his own sexual desires or that of the child.

Adoption of T.D.V. and M.B.V.; B.R. v. J.V. (NFP)
15A05-1006-AD-364
Adoption. Affirms denial of stepfather B.R.’s petition to adopt T.D.V. and M.B.V.

Josh R. Crager v. State of Indiana (NFP)
17A03-1006-CR-283
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony possession of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a public park.

Bonnie Warren v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1007-CR-713
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony burglary and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Paternity of B.W.; D.W. v. T.P. (NFP)
71A05-1006-JP-455
Juvenile. Affirms modification of legal and physical custody of B.W. in favor of mother T.P.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Compromising precious constitutional rights in order to protect them? Rather like the military intelligence slogan that the town had to be destroyed in order to save it. Looks like Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus will have quite the eventful Boxing Day this year. Wise men will arrive to find no one to accept their gifts? Oh well, wisdom not all that desired this xmas anyway. Maybe the ACLU and Christian attorneys can work out a "three days every third year" visitation compromise and all of this messy litigation stuff can just be boxed up as well? It is an art form, now isn't it? Thomas More, a man of manifold compromises is undoubtedly cheering on wildly.

  2. From the MCBA: “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer. HOPING that the MCBA will denouce the execution style killig of two NYC police officers this day, seemingly the act of one who likewise believes that the police are targeting blacks for murder and getting away with it. http://www.mediaite.com/online/two-nypd-cops-fatally-shot-in-ambush-in-brooklyn/ Pray this violence soon ends, and pray it stays far away from Indiana.

  3. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  4. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  5. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

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