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Opinions July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013
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The following opinion was released after IL deadline Monday:
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mobile Tool International, Inc. and MTI Insulated Products, Inc. v. Davis H. Elliot Company, Inc.
12-2673
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Mobile. Finds that the indemnity provision in the invoice did not supersede the language in the lease so Elliot was required to defend and indemnify Mobile against claims made by an injured employee.

Today's opinions:
Indiana Court of Appeals

In Re the Adoption of: P.A.H., f/k/a P..V., Minor Child, B.D. and L.H.C., v. J.H.
79A02-1302-AD-183
Adoption. Reverses trial court’s order granting post-adoption visitation to P.H.’s biological uncle, J.H. Finds the lower court lacked authority to grant post-adoption visitation rights to J.H. since he is not within any statutory category of persons entitled to visitation rights.

In Re: The Paternity of Jo.J., J.W.J., v. D.C.
29A05-1209-JP-447
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the judgment of the trial court to modify the father’s child support obligation and to jail father for contempt. The COA concludes the trial court may have erred in considering mother’s request for “temporary support” prematurely. It did not err in modifying father’s weekly child support payment.

Darla M. Brenton, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Evelyn Norfleet, Deceased v. Leslie D. Lutz
77A01-1302-ES-86
Estate, supervised. Affirms trial court’s order removing Brenton as special administrator of her mother’s estate. Brenton had successfully sought to be appointed as administrator for the sole purpose of collecting damages for wrongful death. However, when the trial court removed her as administrator after learning her brother had already been named as the executor of her mother’s estate, Brenton argued that the trial court did not comply with Indiana Code Section 29-1-10-6. This did not persuade the COA. The appeals court ruled without a valid appointment of a special administrator, there is not reason to seek removal under I.C. Section 29-1-10-6.      

Adam Miller v. State of Indiana
53A05-1211-CR-560
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s denial of Miller’s motion to suppress. Concludes the search of Miller’s backpack was impermissible under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Cale Bradford dissents, arguing the search of Miller’s backpack did not violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. Further, he asserts, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the state to reopen its evidence at the suppression hearing.  

Kevin Buckley v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A04-1211-CR-564
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class C felony.

Robert Marks v. State of Indiana (NFP)

62A01-1212-CR-591
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s revocation of Marks’ probation.  

Anonymous Hospital, Inc., v. Jane Doe, Et Al., and Indiana Department of Insurance (NFP)
20A03-1210-CT-426
Civil tort. Reverses and remands for further proceedings the trial court granting Doe partial summary judgment. Rules Doe’s complaint for damages falls within the purview of the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

Joseph Dowell and Angie L. Grove and Cody Rowe v. American Modern Home Insurance Company (NFP)
50A03-1211-CT-487
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for American Modern Home Insurance Co.

Gary Wayne Shortt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1212-CR-590
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Shortt’s motion for earned credit time and to correct error in his sentence.

Floyd D. Stewart v. State of Indiana (NFP)

65A05-1212-CR-656
Criminal. Affirms Stewart’s conviction of two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and sentence to concurrent terms of 23 years, with 21 years executed and two years suspended.  

Kendal R. Pitts v. State of Indiana (NFP)

45A03-1211-CR-492
Criminal. Affirms Pitts’ 30-year sentence for Class A felony rape.

Dominique Devon Hayes v. State of Indiana (NFP)

45A05-1211-CR-576
Criminal. Affirms Hayes’ sentence of 17 years for one count of Child Molesting as a Class B felony.  

Margaret Smith v. Kristopher Schaler (NFP)

49A05-1211-CT-552
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s denial of Smith’s motion to dismiss Schaler’s complaint pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6). Judge Nancy Vaidik dissents, arguing the trial court did err because Schaler has only pled to spoliation-of-evidence claim in his complaint and spoliation of evidence is not a recognized cause of action in Indiana.

Victor Fointno v. Clair Barnes, Et Al., (NFP)
52A05-1303-SC-126
Small Claim. Affirms trial court’s entry of judgment against Fointno and in favor of the defendants.

James A. Groff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A02-1211-CR-886
Criminal. Affirms Groff’s statutory no-contact order as a condition of his executed sentence following his plea of guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony.  

In the Matter of the Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of M.G. & A.G. (Minor Children), and S.S.(Mother) & S.G.(Father), v. Child Advocates Inc. and Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A05-1211-JT-583
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of mother’s and father’s parental rights.

Truong Vu v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A04-1207-CR-352
Criminal. Affirms Vu’s convictions for criminal deviate conduct, as a Class B felony; sexual battery, as a Class D felony; and two counts of criminal confinement, as Class D felonies. Remands with instructions for the court to correct its written sentencing statement and any related documents to include the term of probation.  

Jose F. Medina v. State of Indiana (NFP)

20A04-1210-CR-525
Criminal. Affirms Medina’s conviction of and sentence for Class A felony attempted child molesting.

Adam Sullender v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1212-CR-554
Criminal. Affirms Sullender’s sentence for Class C felony battery of a pregnant woman and Class D felony strangulation.
 
Martez Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1212-CR-1007
Criminal. Affirms Brown’s 150-year sentence after being convicted of two counts of murder and one count of Class B felony robbery.

Billy Ray Mead v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A01-1301-CR-33
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s revocation of Mead’s probation and order for him to serve his previously suspended five-year sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction with credit for time served.  

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court release no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals released no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.
 

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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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