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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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