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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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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