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Opinions July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was released Monday after IL deadline.
Dalmas Maurice Otieno Anyango and Jane Tinna Agola Otieno, as Natural Parents and Next of Kin of Isaiah Omondi Otieno, Deceased v. Rolls-Royce Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., et al.
49S04-1207-CT-434
Civil tort. Affirms trial court ruling dismissing the case based on forum non conveniens, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that another more convenient, adequate forum was available to plaintiffs in a wrongful death action.

Opinions July 31, 2012

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Carol Aschermann v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al.
12-1230
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Affirms the District Court judgment in favor of the insurers, in which an insurer stopped paying a worker’s disability benefits claim, holding that the decision was not arbitrary or capricious.

Indiana Supreme Court
Anthony H. Dye v. State of Indiana
20S04-1201-CR-5
Criminal. Reverses habitual-offender enhancement but summarily affirms the COA’s ruling that an executed term of 20 years is not inappropriate. Remanded to trial court with instructions to enter an order for an executed term of 20 years. Justice Massa dissents.

Shepherd Properties Co., d/b/a Shepco Commercial Finishes v. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 91
49S04-1112-PL-697
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court ruling that private parties are liable for attorney fees of a substantially prevailing plaintiff under the Access to Public Records Act. Remands for determination of what additional attorney fees the union incurred under the APRA as a result of Shepherd Properties’ appeal. Chief Justice Dickson and Justice Massa dissent without opinion.

The Presbytery of Ohio Valley, Inc., d/b/a The Presbytery of Ohio Valley, d/b/a Ohio Valley Presbytery, et al. v. OPC, Inc., f/k/a Olivet Presbyterian Church, Inc., et al.
82S02-1105-MF-314
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses and remands to the trial court for further proceedings in this property dispute, holding that neither party is fully entitled to either the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Olivet, nor the appeals court’s reversal and grant of summary judgment for the Presbytery. Justices Sullivan and Massa dissent.

Sean Thomas Ryan v. Dee Anna Ryan
71S03-1111-DR-644
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court ruling that it had no authority to modify the property agreement between Sean and Dee Anna Ryan without Dee Anna’s consent. Finds the language of the parties’ agreement allows the court to conclude as a matter of contract law that Dee Anna is bound to agree to sales prices for the properties that would produce net proceeds less than those stated in the agreement.

James C. Purcell v. Old National Bank
49S02-1201-CT-4
Civil tort. Holds the trial court did not abuse its discretion under Trial Rule 50(A) in its determination that the evidence presented by Purcell was insufficient to merit presentation of evidence to the jury. When Stein’s interrogatory responses are viewed as a whole and in conjunction with his trial testimony, the import is that this evidence – standing alone – is insufficient to support Purcell’s intentional tort claims under the court’s qualitative analysis. Also agrees that Old National did not owe a duty of care to Purcell. Chief Justice Dickson and Justice Rucker dissent in part.

Indiana Court of Appeals
The Estate of K. David Short by Judith Y. Short, Personal Representative v. Brookville Crossing 4060 LLC d/b/a Baymont Inns & Suites and MPH Hotels, Inc. d/b/a Baymont Inns & Suites
49A02-1112-CT-1128
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants, holding that defendants did not have reason to know of the plaintiff’s peril.

James L. Hebner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A04-1111-CR-605
Criminal. Affirms in part and reverses part three convictions of resisting law enforcement, one as a Class D felony and two as Class A misdemeanors.

Samuel Davis, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
57A03-1110-CR-499
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony operating while intoxicated causing death.
 
Zachary Daye Riffle v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1201-CR-7
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony attempted burglary.

Tommy Joe Doublin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A05-1110-CR-521
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary and adjudication as a habitual offender.
 
Joshua Wotowiec v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1111-CR-609
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Joseph Peters v. State of Indiana (NFP)
59A01-1108-CR-330
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to dismiss child molesting charges.

Micole Draughon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1111-CR-995
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part sentence for Class C felony criminal recklessness, remanding to the trial court to conduct a hearing on indigency and how restitution is to be paid.

Kelly Allen v. State of Indiana (NFP)
42A01-1112-CR-601
Criminal. Affirms trial court revocation of probation.  

Michael Burnett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1112-CR-1119
Criminal. Affirms trial court convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and adjudication as a habitual offender.

In re the Guardianship of Thora Moulton: Alison E. Clapp (O'Callaghan) v. Donald J. Evans (NFP)
64A04-1201-GU-13
Guardianship. Reverses award of attorney fees and guardianship-related fees to Evans, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by awarding fees filed too late.

David E. Arnold v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1112-CR-668
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

David Smithers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
41A04-1111-PC-617
Post-conviction relief. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief.  

Melissa Bruce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
46A03-1110-CR-476
Criminal. Affirms sentence for neglect of a dependent as a Class B felony.

Cynthia R. Atkinson v. Indiana Dept. of Administration (NFP)
49A04-1202-PL-81
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court denial of motion to correct error.

Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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