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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor battery.

Jacob A. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

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.