Opinions July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Donella Locke
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Criminal. Affirms Locke’s sentence of 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and order she pay more than $340,000 in restitution to lenders for her role in a real estate fraud scheme. Locke argued the District Court erred when it failed to reduce the loss amount incurred as a result of her convicted conduct by the amounts the victims received when they sold the real estate that secured the fraudulently obtained loans, but she waived this issue.

Indiana Supreme Court
Camoplast Crocker, LLC, The Kelch Corporation, and Seats, Inc. v. Kris Schoolcraft, as Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of Rickie D. Schoolcraft, Deceased, et al.
Civil tort. Grants transfer and affirms denial of new defendants’ motion to dismiss or judgment on the pleadings, arguing the motion to amend the complaint to add them as defendants was filed too late. Expressly adopts and incorporates by reference pursuant to Ind. App. Rule 58(A)(1) the Court of Appeals opinion in this case.

Indiana Court of Appeals
James Giles, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of Ruth Giles, deceased v. Anonymous Physician I, Anonymous Corporation I, Anonymous Hospital I, Anonymous Physician II, et al.
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment to Anonymous Physician I on Giles’ medical malpractice claim. Caselaw is clear that a physician who does not treat a patient or perform some affirmative act regarding the patient has no physician-patient relationship and thus owes no duty to that patient.

Hi-Tec Properties, LLC v. Brittany Murphy, Kendall Murphy, Lorie Murphy, and Jay Frazier
Civil tort. Reverses a portion of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiffs on their claims for negligence, breach of contract and fraud against Hi-Tec. Lorie Murphy cannot collect any damages because she is not a party on the lease and Kendall Murphy is only entitled to $2,360 for the rent he paid on adult daughter Brittany Murphy's apartment. Remands with instructions for revision. The trial court did not err when it concluded that the exculpatory clause in the rental lease was void as against public policy. Affirms $15,000 in punitive damages to Brittany Murphy.  

Alvino Pizano v. Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller, et al.

Miscellaneous. Affirms dismissal of Pizano’s lawsuit claiming he was entitled to credit time for earning a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University while incarcerated. The case was correctly dismissed as moot because the state awarded Pizano the credit time and he has since been released from incarceration, so he has been granted all possible relief.

Glenn Hatmaker v. Betty Hatmaker (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms order restricting Glenn Hatmaker’s parenting time to supervised parenting time two hours per week.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Z.S. (Minor Child) and R.S. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Timothy E. Strowmatt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms order dismissing petition for writ of state habeas corpus.

Charles Howlett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by 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.