Opinions July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Wednesday
Indiana Supreme Court

The Kroger Co. v. Lu Ann B. Plonski
Civil. Affirms denial of Kroger’s motion for summary judgment on Plonski’s complaint for damages for negligence after she was attacked in the store’s parking lot. The trial court erred in granting her motion to strike Kroger affidavits on criminal activity within the past 2 years and by allowing her to introduce the police reports for the ostensible purpose of supporting her motion. The burden is on Kroger to demonstrate that the assault was not foreseeable, which they did not do.

Curtis F. Sample v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Sample’s convictions and sentence for attempted murder and criminal confinement. Vacates habitual finding adjudication and remands for new habitual offender phase of trial. Because the trial court provided over Sample’s objection an instruction that minimized the jury’s power of discretion in making a determination on habitual offender status, and provided a “law and facts” instruction that rendered meaningless the jury’s Article I, Section 19 authority, the trial court committed reversible error. Sample is entitled to have the habitual offender adjudication vacated.

Luis E. Duran v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Entry into Duran’s home violated both the state and federal constitutions and the evidence of drugs must be suppressed. The information available to the arresting officers didn’t satisfy even the least-restrictive reasonable suspicion standard.

Subhen Ghosh v. Indiana State Ethics Commission and Office of the Inspector General
Civil. Holds that a 2005 amendment authorized State Employee Appeals Commission to consider ethical violations among other grounds for termination in conducting this review, but did not otherwise affect the general rule that the Ethics Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the state Ethics Code. Ghosh’s attempt to review his termination by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in this subsequent Ethics Commission proceeding is therefore barred by IDEM’s earlier unappealed decision to terminate him. Upholds the Ethics Commission’s sanction against Ghosh.

Austin Knight v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Revises Knight’s sentence of 70 years following a guilty plea without a plea agreement to 11 counts, including felony burglary and robbery, to a total aggregate term of 40 years. Cannot conclude that Knight’s transgressions necessarily “demonstrate a character of such recalcitrance or depravity” that they justify a 70-year sentence. Remands for re-sentencing.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Luiz Alves v. Old National Bank f/k/a St. Joseph Capital Bank
Civil. Affirms denial of Alves’ Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion. Because he filed his motion more than one year after the trial court granted summary judgment for Old National Bank and his earlier appeal of that judgment doesn’t toll the 1-year limit applicable to motions brought pursuant to subsections (1)-(4), his motion is untimely. In addition, the evidence on appeal doesn’t show the bank owed a duty to Alves or that the bank breached a duty by conspiring with his former business partner to remove him from their company.

John M. Knight v. Kelly A. Knight (NFP)
Civil. Affirms denial of John Knight’s petition for modification of child support.

Luiz Alves v. Damon R.  Leichty, James W. Tuesley, and Barnes & Thornburg, LLC (NFP)
Civil. Affirms dismissal with prejudice of Alves’ complaint for legal malpractice.

Karla J. Reaser v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony battery, Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, and Class D felony criminal confinement.

Derrick D. Hammond v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and Class B misdemeanor false informing.

In Re: the Marriage of J.R. and M.R. (NFP)
Civil. Affirms child support award, reverses division of marital estate, and remands with instructions.

Elizabeth Saldivar-Cruz v. Guardian Industries Corp. (NFP)
Civil. Affirms denial of application for adjustment of claim with the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana.

Gregory A. Harpenau v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction.

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.