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Opinions June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010
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The following opinion was posted Monday after IL deadline.
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Medical Assurance Co., Inc. v. Amy Hellman, et al.
08-2887
U. S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Allen Sharp.
Civil. Medical Assurance appealed the District Court’s stay on the company’s declaratory judgment action. The company asked the court to declare that Dr. Mark Weinberger breached his contract obligations when he disappeared while on vacation and hasn’t been participating in his defense in more than 350 medical malpractice claims. As an insurer, it must show that the breach resulted in actual prejudice by showing that the outcome of the underlying case would have been altered by the insured’s cooperation. The District Court had noted it would be impossible for Medical Assurance to show actual prejudice without interfering with the state court processes, but the Circuit Court disagrees. The Circuit Court wrote that summary judgment is a good tool to examine not only whether Medical Assurance can succeed as a matter of law but also whether this case is a suitable candidate for declaratory relief by allowing the company to go forward with its challenge to its duty to defend. Vacates and remands the case for further proceedings.

Today’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

United States of America v. Vertran Wheaton
09-3171
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of 36-month sentence for violating terms of supervised release. Wheaton admitted having violated the terms, and his counsel filed an Anders brief. The court notes Wheaton didn’t ask to withdraw his admissions but objects only to the sentence and not the revocation of supervised released based on his admissions. Using United States v. Knox, 287 F.3d 667, 670-72 (7th Cir. 2002), the court holds the challenge cannot stand. Grants counsel’s motion to withdraw.

Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Mandate of Funds; St. Joseph County Commissioners and St. Joseph County Council v. The Hon. Peter J. Nemeth and the St. Joseph Probate Court
71S00-0912-MF-569
Civil. On automatic review pursuant to Trial Rule 60.5(B) and Appellate Rule 61, this is the first case utilizing the 2009 amended procedures of T.R. 60.5. Reverses the dismissal of Mandate 1 directing that the commissioners “shall not sell, assign, or otherwise transfer any interest in the land without the court’s consent” and remands it for trial. Affirms in part and reverses in part Mandate 2 about renovations to the Juvenile Justice Center and Mandate 3 regarding raises in salaries. Affirms the award of attorney fees and remands for a determination and award of the court’s appellate attorney fees. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Rucker concur with author Justice Sullivan. Justice Dickson concurs in part and dissents in part with a separate opinion, with which Justice Boehm concurs.
 
Indiana Court of Appeals
Adam Starr v. State of Indiana
49A04-0912-CR-677
Criminal. Reverses conviction of refusal to identify self, a Class C misdemeanor because Starr did not fall within the purview of the refusal to identify statute.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions and IL deadline.
 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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