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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. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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