ILNews

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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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