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Opinions July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:

Connie J. Orton-Bell v. State of Indiana
13-1235
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment for the state on Orton-Bell’s lawsuit alleging sex discriminating and hostile work environment claims after she was fired for having an affair with the major in charge of custody at the prison where they worked. There is evidence that she was similarly situated to the major, who was allowed to resign, keep his benefits, and return to work at the DOC through a contractor. Affirms judgment for the state on her retaliation claims.


Tuesday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Kenyatta Erkins v. State of Indiana
58S01-1309-CR-586
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. Presents first impression issue of whether the state must establish the existence of serious bodily injury for Erkins’ conviction to stand. Because conspiracy is a crime consisting of intent to commit an underlying crime, an agreement between or among conspirators to commit the underlying crime, and an overt act by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the agreement, the state needed only to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to support his conviction. Justice Rucker concurs in part and dissents in part to which Chief Justice Dickson joins.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark Rolley v. Melissa Rolley
87A01-1307-DR-330
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of Melissa Rolley’s petition to modify child support from $350 per week to $1,419 per week. Finds the trial court did not err in based on the appeals court’s analysis of the plain language of the child support modification statute, its recognition that the law governing child support agreements differs from that governing other contractual agreements, and its recognition that the ultimate concern is the child’s well-being.

City of Gary v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Guadalupe T. Franco
93A02-1312-EX-1016
Agency appeal. Affirms decision that Franco had been discharged but not for just cause and is entitled to unemployment benefits. The paperwork documenting the chain of custody of a urine sample of Franco was not completed properly, and the city could have produced more information to prove Franco’s sample did arrive at the facility intact.

Steven R. Perry v. State of Indiana
39A01-1312-CR-517
Criminal. Affirms denial of Perry’s motion for credit time for time spent on electronic monitoring as a drug court program participant. A participant in drug court is not awaiting trial or awaiting sentencing under I.C. 35-50-6-3, and the statutes governing electronic monitoring as a condition of probation are inapplicable to a person who voluntarily participates in a drug court program.

James K. Melton, Perdue Foods, LLC f/k/a Perdue Farms Incorporated and FPP Business Services, Inc., et al. v. Chad Stephens, Guardian of the Person and Estate of Stacy S. Stephens and Chad Stephens
14A01-1308-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms findings of fact and conclusions thereon determining that the substantive laws of the state of Illinois apply to a motor vehicle collision which occurred in that state between residents of Indiana. The place of the tort is significant to the action.

Tender Loving Care Management, Inc., d/b/a TLC Management LLC, et al. v. Randall Sherls, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Birdie Sherls, Deceased
45A05-1311-CT-562
Civil tort. Reverses trial court finding that an arbitration agreement was unenforceable because of ambiguity because the extrinsic evidence resolves the ambiguity surrounding the identity of the parties to the agreement. Concludes Birdie Sherls’ son had the authority to enter the agreement and therefore had the authority to waive her right to a jury trial. Remands for further proceedings.

Robert L. Dixon v. State of Indiana
84A01-1307-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to suppress certain evidence which was discovered through a pat-down search following a traffic infraction. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied Dixon’s motion to suppress evidence located in violation of Dixon’s Fourth Amendment rights. Judge Bradford dissents.

Scott Greenier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1312-CR-602
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor battery.

Jacob A. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A01-1312-CR-529
Criminal. Affirms sentence for three counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.T., Minor Child, and K.S., Mother, K.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A05-1312-JT-580
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

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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