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Opinions July 16, 2013

July 16, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Hoosier Environmental Council and Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and Indiana Department of Transportation
12-3187
Civil/agency action. Affirms the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Corps of Engineers, holding that the Corps evaluated all of the wetland-protection factors required in its approval of a Clean Water Act permit to construct a section of Interstate 69 about 25 miles south of Bloomington.  

Indiana Court of Appeals
Steven Weinreb v. Fannie Mae
49A04-1211-PL-587
Civil plenary. Affirms partial summary judgment to Fannie Mae for $1.81 million. Weinreb, a real estate investor who was held liable for the amount, appealed the summary judgment on the grounds that the implementation of the loan documents was ambiguous; the prepayment premium is unenforceable; and the guaranty along with the loan documents are unenforceable because of unconscionability. The COA finds no ambiguity in either the language or implementation of the documents. It also concludes the prepayment premium is enforceable as a matter of law because it fairly compensates Fannie Mae for lost interest. Finally, the court rules Weinreb was not in a position of weakness or unequal bargaining power when negotiating the loan so the guaranty and the loan documents are not unconscionable.   

Marshall Banter v. Joshua Sheets
34A05-1212-CT-629
Civil tort. Reverses and remands for a new trial in a claim arising from an automobile crash. The panel held that a jury that assigned 70 percent fault to Marshall Banter, a motorist rear-ended in an auto accident, was given incorrect instructions and misapplied the Indiana Comparative Fault Act. The panel further held that Joshua Sheets conceded liability and therefore the jury at a new trial shall only determine Banter’s damages.

The Cain Family Farm, L.P., and The Cain Family Farm, LLC, v. Schrader Real Estate & Auction Company, Inc., Charles O. Drerup, Antlers Ridge, LLC, and Candace J. Somerlott

57A03-1209-PL-394
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court ruling validating the purchase agreements on property sold at auction, agreeing with trial court rulings that there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding Candace Somerlot’s apparent authority to bind the LLC when she executed purchase agreements, and that the trial court correctly interpreted the Indiana Business Flexibility Act, I.C. 23-18-3-1.1(b).

William Chavers v. State of Indiana

49A04-1211-CR-580
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Finds that Chavers failed to show he made an honest and reasonable mistake of fact that would have negated his culpability for violating a no-contact order. Concludes a “reasonable person” would have attempted to verify that both protective orders issued from Marion Superior Court 21 and Court 16 had been vacated before going to the victim’s residence. However, in his dissent, Judge John Baker argues the confusion over the two separate orders could have caused “an average person” to easily make a mistake regarding the status of the protective orders.

Jeramie Murdock v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1210-CR-880
Criminal. Affirms 20-year executed sentence and convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of methamphetamine and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Jeffrey Nemcek v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1210-CR-549
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of Class C felony reckless homicide and Class B misdemeanor possession of a switchblade knife.

Scott Banfield v. State of Indiana (NFP)

02A04-1210-IF-536
Infraction. Affirms bench trial verdict against Scott Banfield and fine of $35.50 plus court costs for a speeding ticket.

Oscar Guillen, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
56A03-1204-CR-157
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class D felony intimidation and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Patrick Wiese v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1207-CR-595
Criminal/rehearing. Reaffirms trial court denial of a motion to suppress evidence from a home search.

Eric M. Kyner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1301-PC-124
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief from his designation as a sexually violent predator and placement on parole, which was revoked after a violation.

Christopher McCaster v. State of Indiana (NFP)

79A04-1212-CR-644
Criminal. Affirms habitual-offender sentence enhancement to a conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to deal in cocaine or a narcotic drug.

Romell Colvin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1212-CR-576
Criminal. Affirms Class D felony conviction of dealing in marijuana.

Nicholas Joseph Bray v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1210-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to withdraw guilty plea to two counts of Class C felony child molesting.

Barbara Laskowski v. Amer Kazi, M.D. (NFP)
20A03-1205-PL-235
Civil plenary/medical malpractice. A majority of Judge Rudolph Pyle III and Chief Judge Margret Robb affirms summary judgment in favor of the defendant. Judge Melissa May dissents.

Jim A. Edsall v. Benson, Pantello, Morris, James & Logan (NFP)
02A05-1210-SC-508
Small claims. Affirms judgment against Jim Edsall for $981.31 in unpaid legal fees.

Kenneth Horton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1212-CR-1036
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation on the suspended portion of a sentence for Class B felony rape.

Delford W. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1209-CR-401
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony sexual battery and remands to the trial court to enter a conviction of Class B misdemeanor battery and resentence Jones accordingly.

Susan Berg v. Wanda Peters Rice a/k/a Wanda Coleman (NFP)
40A04-1210-SC-530
Small claims. Affirms judgment in favor of Wanda Peters Rice a/k/a Wanda Coleman in a land contract dispute.

Melvin Lee Hayes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A05-1212-CR-630
Criminal. Remands to the trial court to recalculate credit for time served on convictions of Class D felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine and theft.

Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline Tuesday.


 
 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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