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Opinions June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010
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Indiana Supreme Court
Richard Patrick Wilson and Billy Don Wilson v. Gene Isaacs, Sheriff of Cass County, and Brad Craven
09S05-1003-CV-149
Civil. Reverses grant of summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ liability claims against the sheriff for the conduct of Deputy Brad Craven. Affirms summary judgment for claims against Craven personally. Holds that a law enforcement officer's use of force in excess of the reasonable force authorized by statute is not shielded from liability under the "enforcement of a law" immunity provided in Indiana Code § 34-13-3-3(8) and that genuine issues of fact exist, precluding summary judgment. Chief Justice Shepard dissents without opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Julianne E. Tamasy v. Peter S. Kovacs
49A05-0910-CV-563
Civil. Affirms order granting physical custody of the parties’ children to Kovacs. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Tamasy’s request to transfer the custody proceedings to Massachusetts, in excluding certain testimony at trial, in modifying the previous custody order, and in issuing a July 23, 2009, order regarding Tamasy’s emergency motion to compel parenting time.

Indianapolis-Marion Co. Public Library v. Thornton Thomasetti Engineers, et al.

6A05-0906-CV-327
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Thorton Thomasetti Engineers on the common law indemnity cross-claim and contractual indemnity cross-claim. Declines library’s invitation to adopt the doctrine of implied contractual indemnity. Reverses summary judgment for TTE on the cross-claim for breach of professional standard of care. It is up a jury to decide whether TTE committed a breach of damages to which WMP may be entitled. Remands for further proceedings on this cross-claim.

American Family Insurance v. Beazer Homes, et al.
49A02-0912-CV-1292
Civil. Reverses dismissal of American Family Insurance’s claim for failure to prosecute against Beazer Homes and other defendants. The trial court abused its discretion in dismissing the claim under Indiana Trial Rule 41(E). The record does not reveal a history of an egregious pattern of deliberate delay on the part of American Family or that American Family defied any court orders. Remands with instructions to reinstate the cause of action.

Elmer D. Baker, v. State of Indiana
17A04-0905-CR-299
Criminal. Grants rehearing to clarify holding on the issue of the amendment of the charging information but affirms original opinion affirming convictions of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and one count of Class C felony child molesting. Clarifies holding to state that the applicable deadline for amending the information is not “before the commencement of the trial” that ended in a mistrial; rather, it is “before the commencement of the trial” that was held on the amended charges, and the one from which Baker filed his appeal.

Eliud Anthony Delgado v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-0911-CR-1142
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections.

Travis Halveland v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A04-1002-CR-111
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Stardust Development, LLC v. City of Bloomington (NFP)

53A04-0908-CV-487
Civil. Reverses small claims judgment in favor of Bloomington in Stardust Development’s action to recover costs of a tree branch removal. Remands with instructions.

Martin Serrano v. State of Indiana and the City of Fort Wayne (NFP)

02A03-0908-CV-362
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of the state and City of Fort Wayne ordering the forfeiture of Serrano’s truck, which was seized after a traffic stop.

Maurice Hairston v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1003-CR-137
Criminal. Affirms convictions of burglary as a Class B felony, receiving stolen property as a Class D felony, and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Jason D. Arbuckle v. State of Indiana (NFP)

72A01-0912-CR-618
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of T.L.; H.L. v. IDCS (NFP)
02A03-1002-JT-100
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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