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Opinions June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jeffrey Weaver
12-3324
Criminal. Vacates judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and remands for resentencing. Weaver was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment after the District Court determined his sentence should be enhanced because he was functioning as a manager/supervisor in supplying methamphetamine to two buyers and pressuring them to sell the drugs. The Circuit Court found his actions did not rise to the 3-level enhancement because he did not have the control necessary to coerce the buyers. Instead Weaver was encouraging behavior that would protect his investment and insure payment of the debt owed to him.  

The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Friday.
SAMS Hotel Group, LLC v. Environs, Inc.
12-2979
Civil. Affirms judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana that SAMS Hotel Group’s damages were limited to $70,000. The hotel group sued Environs for breach of contract after the hotel that Environs designed was found to have serious structural flaws and had to be demolished before being opened. SAMS argued its damages should exceed the limitation of liability provision in the contract because the language of the contract did not refer explicitly to Environs’ own negligence. Finding no indication in Indiana case law that the Indiana Supreme Court would extend the specificity rule to a limitation of liability clause that was knowingly negotiated by two sophisticated commercial entities, the Circuit Court concluded the district court properly held SAMS to the terms of its contract.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryant E. Wilson v. State of Indiana
27A02-1212-CR-1012
Criminal. Affirms in a divided opinion trial court denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence for convictions of Class A felony rape and criminal deviate conduct and Class B felony robbery. Judges Terry Crone and Ezra Friedlander affirmed the trial court’s denial, holding the aggregate sentence of 50 years in prison that included a partial consecutive sentence on the lesser count was not erroneous on its face. Chief Judge Margret Robb would reverse the denial, writing in dissent that she believed the sentence was erroneous because the partial consecutive sentence was not explicitly permitted by statute.

Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline Monday.

 

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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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