Opinions June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Steven Siwinski, et al. v. Town of Ogden Dunes
Civil. Affirms trial court ruling in favor of the town in its suit against the Siwinskis for violating a town ordinance by renting their home. The ordinance is not ambiguous and the Siwinskis impermissibly rented their dwelling in violation of the ordinance. The fine for this violation should not exceed $32,500. Justice Rucker concurs in a separate opinion. Justice Sullivan dissents, believing the Court of Appeals’ analysis was correct.

Donald A. Pierce v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Revises Pierce’s 124-year sentence for three counts of Class A felony child molesting and one count of Class C felony child molesting to 80 years based on the nature of the offense and Pierce’s character. On remand, the trial court may determine whether and to what extent any portion of the sentence should be suspended to probation. Justices David and Dickson dissent.

Hematology-Oncology of Ind., P.C. v. Hadley W. Fruits, et al.
Civil. Affirms judgment awarding attorney fees and litigation expenses brought under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Those fees and expenses are recoverable under the statute but remands to limit the provider’s aggregate liability to the $250,000 cap prescribed by the Medical Malpractice Act. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Rucker dissent.

Jeffery H. McCabe v. Commissioner, Indiana Dept. of Insurance
Civil. Reverses partial summary judgment for the Department of Insurance on the issue of whether attorney fees are recoverable under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Holds that attorney fees are recoverable under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Considering the General Wrongful Death Statute and the Adult Wrongful Death Statute in pari materia and warranting harmonious interpretation, finds that the phrase "may include but are not limited to" in the AWDS includes the availability of attorney fees and all other elements of damages permitted under the GWDS. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Rucker dissent.

Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Beverly S. Brown
Civil. Affirms that sums for the expenses of administration, contingent attorney fees and loss of services are recoverable under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Agrees with COA decision that attorney fees, probate administration costs, and litigation costs are compensatory damages that remedy actual pecuniary losses so there’s no reason why these damages shouldn’t be allowed. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Rucker dissent.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Arturo Garcia-Torres v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, attempted rape, and two counts of burglary. Garcia-Torres’ consent to the swab of his cheek for DNA was voluntary so the swab was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Declines to find Pirtle applies. Justice Rucker dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Enhanced Network Solutions, Inc. v. Hypersonic Technologies
Civil plenary. Affirms order granting Hypersonic Technologies’ request for declaratory judgment that Hypersonic did not violate the terms of the subcontractor agreement. The trial court did not err in finding that Hypersonic did not solicit or induce an employee of Enhanced Network Solutions to terminate his employment in violation of the terms of the subcontractor agreement entered into between Hypersonic and ENS.

Coldwell Banker v. Laub Brothers Oil Co., Inc., et al.
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Laub Brothers' motion for summary judgment as there is no issue of material fact with respect to whether Coldwell engaged in negotiations with S&S Oil. Affirms denial of judgment on the evidence as Coldwell presented evidence that disputed Laub Brothers' contention that it did not negotiate with S&S Oil. Affirms trial court didn’t err by ruling on its own motion to correct error on the basis that it did not timely file its own motion to correct error. Holds that a new trial on Coldwell’s suit that Laub Brothers wrongfully refused to pay Coldwell a commission is warranted.

David L. Gibbs v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class B felony arson and remands for a new trial. The trial court erred in failing to appoint a psychiatrist to examine Biggs months after his competency hearing, but it was a harmless error because the trial court did not declare him competent to stand trial as a result of the error. The state’s amendment to Gibbs’ charging information was substantive and the trial court erred in allowing the state to amend the charging information after it had read the original charges to the jury.

Edwin Blinn, Jr. v. Rick Kammen and The Law Firm of Gilroy Kammen & Hill (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Kammen in Blinn’s suit for professional negligence.

Michael Carlton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony escape.

Quanardel Wells v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony intimidation. Affirms imposition of the $250 Sexual Assault Victims Assistance fee, vacates the $100 supplemental public defender fee and remands with instructions that the court hold a hearing on Wells’ ability to pay.

Tina Whiting v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for felony murder.

Shawn D. Downs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent child.

Justin R. Leed v. Melissa A. Leed (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms order modifying the marriage settlement agreement.

Mark May v. Ashley F. Ward, Inc. (NFP)
Agency appeal. Reverses decision by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board denying May’s claim for benefits. Remands for further proceedings.

Jamison A. Brucker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony fraud.

Llewellyn Richardson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony residential entry and Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

Donna J. Layton v. City of Lebanon (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of motion to correct error after jury awarded Layton $133 in her lawsuit against the city after sewage invaded her residence and crawl-space.

Peter Frericks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of revocation of probation.

James L. Whitfield v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Byron G. Lewis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for three counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. Remands for correction to the abstract of judgment.

Hector R. Castillo v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Jarrod W. Fair v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Vacates possession of cocaine and marijuana convictions and sentences and affirms convictions of and sentences for dealing in cocaine and dealing in marijuana.

Rodney L. Williams v. Sullivan County Sheriff's Department, et al. (NFP)
Miscellaneous. Dismisses challenge to the ruling on Williams' wife’s motion to intervene. Affirms the trial court was not required to order an appraisal of Williams’ property prior to forfeiture.

Gerry S. Hicks v. Rachel M. (Hicks) Villareal (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms order granting Villareal’s motion to modify child support.

Trisha Dawn Hudson v. Jeffrey Michael Hudson (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms modification of custody in favor of the father but reverses order directing mother’s parenting time with the children be supervised.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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