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Opinions July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Donella Locke
11-3743
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.
29S02-1407-CT-476
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.
03A01-1306-CT-257
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
50A05-1401-CT-14
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.

33A04-1402-MI-85
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)
49A05-1402-DR-56
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)
09A04-1309-JT-473
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Timothy E. Strowmatt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1402-PC-70
Post conviction. Affirms order dismissing petition for writ of state habeas corpus.

Charles Howlett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1312-CR-1024
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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