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.
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
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
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
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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues