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Opinions June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert Yeftich, et al. v. Navistar Inc. and Indianapolis Casting Corp.
12-2964
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of complaint filed by group of unionized workers alleging breach of collective-bargaining agreement under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The complaint lacked enough factual content to plead a plausible claim for breach of the duty of fair representation, which is required to pursue this litigation.

Indiana Supreme Court
Tim Berry, Auditor of State; M. Caroline Spotts, Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives; and The State of Indiana/ Brian C. Bosma, Speaker v. William Crawford, et al.
49S00-1201-PL-53 and 49S00-1202-PL-76
Civil plenary. Reversed the judgment of the trial court, remands and directs the trial court to grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of justiciability. A split court ruled the  House of Representatives has the authority, granted by the Indiana Constitution, to levy fines against members of the House Democratic Caucus for leaving during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions. Moreover, the doctrine of separation of powers precludes judicial consideration of the Democrats’ claims for relief. Justice Robert Rucker dissented, arguing the House’s constitutionally granted discretion to punish its members does not include the ability to reduce its members’ compensation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC v. Jeffrey A. Curatolo, Et Al.,
45A03-1211-MF-469
Mortgage foreclosure. Reverses order modifying Nationstar Mortgage’s mortgage agreement with Curatolo. The trial court lacked the authority to modify the agreement without the consent of both parties.

Bertram A. Graves, M.D. v. Richard Kovacs, M.D., Edward Ross, M.D., and Indiana University Health f;/k/a Clarian Health Partners, Inc.
49A05-1301-PL-1
Civil plenary. Reverses the granting of judgment on the pleadings in favor of Kovacs and Ross and remands for further proceedings. The court found that although Graves’ complaint may have been unartfully drafted, the trial court erred in concluding that the complaint failed to state any actionable claim against Kovacs and Ross.     
 
Duane Crocker v. State of Indiana

79A04-1210-CR-542
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Crocker’s motion to suppress evidence. The court ruled Crocker should have been Mirandized as soon as he entered the police car and therefore his incriminating statements should have been suppressed. However, Crocker had signed a ‘Pirtle’ form and did not admit to knowing he was transporting marijuana until after he consented to the search of his vehicle.

Dartanyan Porche v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A04-1206-CR-328
Criminal. Affirms Porche’s conviction of felony murder and 55-year sentence.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of J.F. and D.F. and S.K. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
48A02-1211-JT-905
Juvenile termination. Affirms trial court’s judgment to terminate parental rights of S.K. and D.F.

Frank Tiller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1211-CR-571
Criminal. Affirms Tiller’s conviction of felony murder following a jury trial. The court ruled that given the blood stain evidence and the close proximity in time and location that Tiller was to the victim, a reasonable trier of fact could conclude Tiller was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Thomas A. Dexter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A05-1210-PC-557
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Dexter’s petition for post-conviction relief.   

Lake Shore Estates MHC, LLC. v. Michael H. Lane, Et Al. (NFP)
71A05-1210-PL-512
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of the government defendants and the collection agent.  

Charles C. Hitt v. State of Indiana (NFP)

42A04-1210-CR-508
Criminal.  Affirms denial of Hitt’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine. The court ruled Hitt did not show that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his request to withdraw his plea.  

David Lautenschlager v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1211-PC-653
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Lautenschlager’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of C.M. and M.M.; R.M. and Indiana Department of Child Services, Annette Marion and Kenneth Marion (NFP)
02A04-1209-JC-468
Juvenile. Affirms the trial court’s order or judgment of the court awarding custody of C.M. and M.M. to their grandparents, K.M. and A.M.  

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of J.C. and R.C. and S.C. and R.C. Sr., S.C. & R.C. Sr. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
71A03-1211-JT-501
Juvenile termination. Affirms court’s order to terminate parental rights to J.C. and R.C., Jr.

The Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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