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Opinions June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Harriett Ellis, et al. v. CCA of Tennessee LLC d/b/a Corrections Corporation of America
10-2768
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of CCA of Tennessee on the former jail nurses’ claims of racial discrimination, hostile work environment, and violations of the state whistleblower law. Although the District Court correctly determined there was no genuine issue of material fact related to the plaintiffs’ legal claims, the District Court erred with respect to its claim preclusion ruling. That was a harmless error.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian Smith v. Brendonwood Common, Inc.
49A02-1006-PL-785
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Brendonwood Common Inc. in Smith’s complaint alleging Brendonwood had violated its bylaws. Smith had no standing to bring his claim.

Josh Gold, Mitch Gold and Andrea Gold v. Cedarview Management Corp.
53A04-1007-PL-451
Civil plenary. Affirms the $48,520.44 plus interest summary judgment for Cedarview Management Corp. The trial court did not err by considering the lease agreement when determining Josh Gold was personally liable as guarantor of the lease for the payment of the settlement agreement; or by including the nonpayment of December 2008 rent in the amount owed for unpaid lease obligations outside the settlement agreement. Cedarview’s re-entry of the premises in February 2009 was not a breach of the lease.

Patrick J. Trainor v. State of Indiana
71A03-1010-CR-561
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for five counts of Class D felony counterfeiting. The state presented sufficient evidence to support the convictions and under the facts and circumstances of the case, Trainor’s aggregate sentence of seven and one-half years, suspended subject to five years probation, is appropriate.

United States Steel Corp., et al. v. Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
93A02-1006-EX-632
Agency action. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission erred when it determined that U.S. Steel’s delivery of electricity to ArcelorMittal made it a public utility for the purposes of I.C. 8-1-2-1(a). It also erred in determining that the steel provider was an “electricity supplier.” Remands with instructions to vacate these portions of the commission’s order. The commission correctly determined that U.S. Steel acted as a public utility regarding its delivery of natural gas to ArcelorMittal pursuant to I.C. 8-1-2-87.5(b) and that its resale of natural gas purchased from NIPSCO violated NIPSCO’s tariff ban on resale.

Ronald Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1011-CR-1209
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of B.M. and S.M.; J.B. v. IDCS (NFP)
28A01-1101-JT-18
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Asset Acceptance LLC v. Phillip Metz (NFP)
17A05-1011-CC-729
Civil corrections. Reverses order releasing the judgment as paid in full by the debtor and remands for further opinions.

Paternity of J.T.L.; J.D. v. L.L. (NFP)
45A04-1004-JP-287
Juvenile. Affirms denial of father’s motion to vacate, motion for change in magistrate, and motion for contempt and sanctions against the attorney who represented the mother.

Atashia Poe v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A02-1008-CR-966
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended with a prior conviction.

William Lawhorn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
05A04-1009-CR-725
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Rodney Simmons v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1006-CR-353
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class C felony stalking.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.C., et al.; S.F. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
82A01-1010-JT-578
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

William D. Harmon, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A05-1007-CR-473
Criminal. Vacates convictions of possession of a narcotic drug and for possession of cocaine, Counts IV, VI, VIII, and X. Vacates conviction of Count I, conspiracy to commit dealing in a narcotic drug.  Affirms habitual offender conviction and remands for the trial court to attach the habitual offender enhancement to a single conviction. Affirms admittance of evidence of Harmon’s prior conviction.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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