Opinions June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday.
Indiana Supreme Court
Sylvia B. Piven, et al. v. ITT Corporation, Inc., et al.
Certified question. The District Court of New York correctly applied instructive Delaware caselaw to determine the demand futility standards that Indiana would apply. Holds that the Indiana Business Corporation Law employs the same standard for showing - lack of disinterestedness - both as to the composition of special board committees under Indiana Code Section 23-1-32-4 and to the requirement that a shareholder must make a demand that the corporation‘s board act unless the demand would be futile.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Andre Peoples v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms finding Peoples is a habitual offender. People’s instant dealing offense is to be counted in calculating the total number of unrelated felony convictions an individual has for drug dealing. While a single felony drug conviction is not enough to qualify a person for habitual offender status, a second such conviction is, be it a prior conviction or the instant offense.

Myron Owens v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Owens’ convictions of and sentence for dealing cocaine and obstruction of justice, and that he has accumulated two unrelated convictions to be sentenced under the habitual offender statute. Holds conspiracy to deal conviction is not equivalent to a dealing conviction for purposes of the Indiana habitual offender statute.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Randy Edward Johnson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony child molesting. No actual conflict existed that required the defense attorney to make a choice advancing his own interests to the detriment of his client’s interests, but only a potential conflict occurred between Johnson and his counsel. Finds that the trial court’s action of formally noting Johnson’s displeasure on the chronological case history and forwarding his request to the Monroe County Public Defender Officer reasonable. The State did not commit prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments.

Paternity of H.S.; P.S. v. R.F.
Juvenile. Affirms summary judgment in favor of R.F. in P.S. and H.S.’s paternity action against him and the denial of their request for genetic testing of R.F. Any objections to Judge Overbeck’s presiding over the adoption were waivable and H.S. and P.S. have done just that due to mother P.S.’s failure to raise the issue in 1975. Concludes that a mere desire to know the identity of one’s biological father, whatever the reason, is insufficient once establishing legal paternity is not possible. The trial court correctly denied H.S and P.S.’s motion to compel genetic testing on R.F.

Paternity of K.D.; T.N. v. B.D.
Juvenile. Reverses juvenile court order prohibiting mother T.N. from discussing legal proceedings with the media following the establishment of paternity of her child K.D. The order is an invalid prior restraint on mother’s free speech rights, and the confidentiality provisions in Indiana Code and Administrative Rule 9 don’t prohibit her from talking to others about the case based on her knowledge obtained independent of the juvenile proceedings. Remands with instructions.

Lorenzo A. Taylor v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Reverses conviction of conspiracy to commit dealing in cocaine as a Class A felony and remands with instructions to enter as a Class B felony and resentence accordingly. Taylor’s convictions and sentences for both dealing in cocaine and conspiracy to commit dealing in cocaine don’t violate the prohibition against double jeopardy.

City of Indianapolis v. Olive Duffitt

Civil. Reverses denial of City of Indianapolis’ motion for summary judgment in Duffitt’s tort action for damages arising out of injuries sustained from falling on a sidewalk. Given the budgetary considerations and cost-benefit analyses that produced the city’s prioritization scheme, Indianapolis’ designated evidence demonstrates that its decisions are discretionary under the “planning-operational test” as it is interpreted in Pairsh and Rutherford. In cases where certain policy decisions have been delegated to individual employees, discretionary immunity may be established through affidavits. Remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the city.

Michael Harrison v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Veolia Water Indianapolis on the basis that Harrison failed to provide Veolia with notice of his injury pursuant to the Indiana Tort Claims Act. Concludes after considering the evident purposes of ITCA and the development of the common law predating Indiana Tort Claims Act’s adoption that Veolia is not a governmental entity or a political subdivision of the State entitled to ITCA’s protections. Remands for further proceedings

Adam Gibson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to two counts of Class B felony burglary.

Kathy Hardesty v. Larry Vickery (NFP)

Order of protection. Affirms order of protection against Hardesty.

Christopher Deardorff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

James Daugherty v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to public intoxication as a Class B misdemeanor.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of L.C. & G.C.; G.C. v. Marion County Dept. of Child Services and Child Advocates (NFP)

Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Saundra and Clyde Smithson v. Howard Regional Health System (NFP)

Civil. Reverses and remands summary judgment in favor of Howard Regional Health System that it was immune from liability under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

S.C. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Juvenile. Affirms adjudication for false informing, a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult.

Sheldon Fogleman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Billy Dix v. Indiana State Department of Health, et al. (NFP)
Miscellaneous. Affirms order on judicial review affirming the Indiana State Department of Health’s administrative determination that Dix’s involuntary transfer was in compliance with Indiana’s regulations.

Spencer Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Donald Fisher v. Tower Bank and Trust Co. (NFP)
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Tower Bank upon the court’s determination that the bank’s lien on property owned by Stauffer Development was first in priority.

L.M. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication for Class B felony child molesting if committed by an adult.

Cynthia Sericati v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony neglect of a dependent.

Alvino Pizano v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to remove defendant from Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry Act’s Residency Restriction Portion.

Kevin Holloway v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child solicitation.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.



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  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  2. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  3. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."