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Opinions June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Edward Johnson v. State of Indiana
53S01-1106-CR-335
Criminal. Johnson failed to establish that his trial counsel was burdened by a conflict of interest sufficient to trigger the Sixth Amendment duty of inquiry under Holloway or Sullivan. Under similar circumstances, though, a judge should do more than simply pass a complaint by a defendant to the public defender’s office.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Donna Gibson v. G. David Bojrab, M.D., et al.
02A05-1008-CT-497
Civil tort. Affirms judgment in favor of Dr. Bojrab and Pain Management Associates PC on Gibson’s medical malpractice claim. To the extent the issue was properly preserved, Gibson didn’t establish that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding evidence of the medical review panel’s conclusion in an unrelated case against Bojrab.

Cynthia Perdue v. Greater Lafayette Health Services d/b/a Home Hospital
79A05-1011-CT-687
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Home Hospital on Perdue’s complaint alleging negligence and seeking damages for bodily injuries. The trial court erred when it concluded her complaint is barred by a statute of repose. Remands for further proceedings.

Guideone Insurance Co., as Subrogee of Andrew Alexander and Michael Schafstall v. U.S. Water Systems, Inc., and Lowe's Home Centers, Inc.
49A05-1009-CT-569
Civil tort. Affirms grant of partial summary judgment to Lowe’s on the scope of liablity. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Guideone on the issue of liability because an issue of material fact remains. Reverses grant of U.S. Water’s motion to dismiss because the flood damage that resulted from the apparent failure of the water system resulted in physical damage to “other property,” a claim under which Guideone could potentially recover. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Baker dissents in part.

Michael K. Arthur v. State of Indiana
28A01-1008-CR-489
Criminal. Reverses order that denied Arthur eligibility for credit time while placed on home detention in a community corrections program. A reasonable construction of the statute, as amended and consistent with its purpose, finds that Arthur may earn credit time during his placement on home detention. Affirms modification of Arthur’s sentence.

Evelyn Garrard, by and through her Attorney-in-fact, Ronald D. Garrard v. Debra L. Teibel and Douglas Grimmer, and Debra Lindsay
45A04-1003-PL-229
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Evelyn Garrard’s children, Debra Teibel and Douglas Grimmer, following their counterclaim and third-party complaint in Robert Garrard’s action against them for damages, seeking invalidation of Garrard’s power of attorney over Evelyn. The appellate court is unable to discern Garrard’s basis for appeal.

Charles Price v. Delmar Kuchaes

45A04-1007-CT-467
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for Kuchaes on the theory of judicial estoppel for Price’s failure to disclose this malpractice action in his Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Price has standing to pursue his legal malpractice action. Affirms denial of summary judgment as to damages to Price. Issues of material fact remain such that Price isn’t entitled to summary judgment as to Kuchaes’ liability for malpractice. Remands for further proceedings.

Terri L. Mozingo v. Timothy Pursifull (NFP)
24A04-1011-DR-677
Domestic relation. Reverses child support entered in favor of Pursifull and remands with instructions.

Chad Byrd v. State of Indiana (NFP)
54A01-1101-CR-4
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea but mentally ill to murder.

Anthony Welkie v. State of Indiana (NFP)
64A04-1006-CR-443
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and one count of Class C felony child molesting.

Tana Dulin v. Sun Mortgage Co., LLC a/k/a Sun Mortgage, LLC, and Wendy Creed (NFP)
29A04-1008-PL-482
Civil plenary. Affirms award of damages to Dulin in her successful suit against Sun Mortgage and Creed.

Troy L. McMurtry v. Sabrina L. McMurtry (NFP)
82A01-1008-DR-485
Domestic relation. Affirms order granting Sabrina McMurtry’s petition to modify the pre-existing parenting time schedule, calculating father’s child support obligation, and denying Troy McMurtry’s request for attorney fees.

Brandon Gifford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A05-1010-CR-707
Criminal. Affirms finding of being a habitual substance offender.

Thomas A. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
38A04-1008-CR-478
Criminal. Affirms Smith’s sentence following a guilty plea to murder, but reverses the imposition of a $10,000 fine. Reverses sentence following a finding of Smith being in contempt of court. Remands for further proceedings.

Jeffrey Randolph v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1010-CR-1104
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony criminal recklessness, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, and Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

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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